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June 26, 2022

Gitenstein: F-16 purchase, cheapest, most efficient solution

US Ambassador Mark Gitenstein stated that buying F-16s is Romania’s “cheapest and most efficient” solution given the Romanian Army’s consensus concerning the need for new fighter jets. “First of all there is a clear consensus at Romanian Army level that you want to take part in the F-35 program. Likewise there is a clear consensus that you want a fighter jet that will be interoperable with NATO fighter jets. There also seems to be a clear consensus that you want to replace your current fighter jets,” Gitenstein explained during a press conference.

According to Mediafax, he added that according to the experts buying F-16s is “the cheapest and most efficient” solution. “It is less expensive; it is more interoperable with NATO and is the only combat-tested fighter jet. But, in the end, I believe that the most important thing is that the agreement on the F-16 issue is an agreement between air forces – the US Air Force, the best in the world, and the Romanian Air Force. Most of the money will be spent on training pilots, which is very good. But I know there are others that think differently,” Gitenstein said. In March the Supreme Defense Council approved the MoD’s proposal to buy 24 used F-16s. The document will be discussed in Parliament. The deal will cost approximately USD 1.3 bln, with the first fighter jets set to arrive in Romania in 2013.

Also on Friday Gitenstein stated that there is an effort to improve information on the visa application process, opining that those constantly rejected for failing to fulfill the criteria should no longer file demands because that makes it harder to enter the Visa Waiver program. The Ambassador expressed his hope that a high-level visit will take place. “We are working on that. I hope it happens,” Gitenstein stated, adding that he is trying to make President Traian Basescu’s visit to Washington possible. The Romanian Head of State’s last official visit to the US took place in July 2006 when he met US President George W. Bush, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and several American Congressmen.

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