MPs call for additional funds to naval, land forces

Naval and land forces are facing severe shortcomings in their modernisation and acquisition programmes and the Defence Ministry should be allocated more funds for these objectives as soon as possible, the president and vice president of the Chamber of Deputies’ defence committee, Costica Canacheu and George Scutaru said yesterday.

Their comments came after a hearing of the Naval Forces’ General Staff leadership, according to Mediafax.
Canacheu, a member of the ruling Democrat Liberal Party, said the naval forces face technical limitations and underlined that, in the absence of modernisation funds, the forces will have to try and extend the duration of use of current ships. In his turn, Scutaru, a Liberal, underlined that technical limitations are also a problem with the land and air forces. “With a budget accounting for 0.8 per cent of the GDP and an expected budget of 0.72 per cent in 2014, the Romanian army’s acquisition programmes cannot be assured. We have some ongoing acquisition programmes – multirole jet for the air forces, corvettes for the naval forces – which cannot be financed with the money we have at the moment,” Scutaru said. The MP warned that if the Defence Ministry does not obtain a significant budget review, the armed forces will have big problems even in keeping maintenance.

Both Canacheu and Scutaru added that all ships currently in use with the military fleet will undergo checks in order to establish what funds are needed for their modernisation for the next five years. A report on the situation of the ships is expected to reach the defence committee in June.

Talking about land forces, Scutaru underlined that their acquisition programmes benefit from only 10.5 per cent of the necessary funds for 2011. The sum, RON 75 M, is enough to cover half of the accumulated debts, the MP said.

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