The Minister of National Defence, Mircea Dusa, states in an interview granted to DC News that Romanian pilots are already flying the F-16 aircraft bought by Romania. ‘Because we have stopped the under-funding of the Army in 2012, having taken over the Ministry with a budget of 1.2% of GDP and taking it to 1.47% in 2014, we could invest more in the modernisation and equipping of the Army. One of the needs at the time was to equip the combat aviation with multirole aircraft. Currently there are six planes that have been refurbished – new engines, combat systems, armament, all they need’, the minister explained. ‘We could have brought them into the country last year too, but we will only do that at the end of 2016, because the Romanian military are being trained on our aircraft’, Dusa said.
According to the official, the Romanian pilots are being trained in F-16 aircraft in Portugal. ‘Six F-16 aircraft are being flown by Romanian pilots. They receive training in Portugal, at the Portuguese base’, the minister added. The defence official noted that the F-16 and MIG 21 aircraft would do air police missions in parallel, the MIG having a life span until 2018-2019. ‘Ideally we should have a minimum of 40 multirole aircraft, considering the Romanian airspace’, Minister Dusa said.
Deveselu base will become operational this year
The Deveselu base will become operational this year, the part of the work allocated to the Romanian side being almost done, Mircea Dusa also said. He noted that various works are being performed in the area, including on the actual monitoring system and ramps of specific interceptors. ‘Romania is a very serious military partner (…) and we have always honoured our military commitments. The Deveselu base will become operational this year and I want to particularly stress that this is a defence system,’ Dusa said.
The minister assured that our country’s airspace is permanently monitored and that national security is not endangered.
The Minister of Defence also unveiled the names of the most recent appointment he had made. ‘I can give you a new piece of information – today I have signed nine minister’s orders appointing to office military to the structures of the General Staff, as Mr. Ciuca needs a team to accomplish the very important objectives the Army has in the coming period, considering the geopolitical context in the region and the change of the NATO philosophy. ‘(…) General Adrian Tonea, still a general who has been through all positions, has become today deputy to the Chief of Staff’, Mircea Dusa also said. Nicolae Ionel Ciucă was appointed as Chief of the General Staff of the Romanian Army on Tuesday.