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December 9, 2022
DEFENCE

Romanian pilots delighted by F16 performance: It can execute any mission at 21st century standards

The pilots and military personnel that are in Portugal for preparations to pilot the multirole F16 showed themselves delighted by the performance of the aircraft that they consider “the most successful in the world” in its category and of which they say can “execute any mission at 21st century standards”, Agerpres correspondent to Monte Real reports.

Romania has officially taken over, on Wednesday, from the Monte Real Portuguese airbase its first six F16 ships, of a total of 12, bought for the sum of 682 euro.

The six F16’s marked with the Romanian tricolour roundel are prepared to take off for Romania Wednesday, where they will be deployed in Fetesti. The Romanian pilots and ground crew, some of them in Portugal for training for the better part of the past two years, will come back to the Romania.

For Master Aircrew Gabriel Zaharia, the taking over of the planes by the Romanian Army is an emotional moment.

“It is an emotional day, but we consider we can successfully overcome challenges, and there will be challenges. We are the pioneers of the F16 in Romania, we will have to exploit this plane, to prepare personnel because there’s only a few of us at the start. I am sure we will overcome difficulties,” he stated.

“The F16 constantly takes part in air operations in the world, so it has a lot of battle experience. This can be seen a lot in procedures, tactics, techniques, so there is a large volume of information that must be assimilated and all the training that occurs daily are exactly in order to master these techniques and procedures. The F16 is capable of executing absolutely every mission a combat aircraft can be given, if properly fitted,” said one of the pilots, Wing Commander Catalin Miclos.

In his opinion, the F16 is the best combat aircraft the Romanian Air Force can afford at this moment and which “can execute any type of mission at 21st century standards”.

In 2013, Romania decided to buy from Portugal 12 used F16’s. The initial intent was to buy 24 airplanes, but the final decision was for 12, for budgetary reasons. Beside the F16, offers were made by companies producing the JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the offers being for new aircraft. Furthermore, the offer for French Dassault Rafale planes was analyzed.

The price for the 12 F16 aircraft was set at 628 million euro, the planes going on to be stationed at the air bases in Fetesti and Campia Turzii, two airbases especially modernized for this type of aircraft.

According to specialists, Romania needs 48 multirole aircraft, meaning four squadrons. In 2015, Romanian authorities announced the intention to buy other F16 airplanes.

Minister of Defence Mihnea Motoc stated on February 22 that Romania intends to buy another 12 F16 airplanes, with the contractual procedures to be begun this year for the second squadron.

Currently, the Romanian airspace is defended by MIG-21 LanceR supersonic aircraft, modernized in collaboration with an Israeli company starting with 1995.

Furthermore, the Romanian Air Force also owns subsonic training airplanes IAR-99 Hawk and Iak-52 (produced under agreement as variant of Yak-52) – both Romanian produced, transport aircraft C-27J Spartan – Italian production, C-130 Hercules – American produced.

The Romanian Army also fields IAR-330 Puma helicopters and their modernized variant IAR-330 Puma SOCAT, as well as IAR-316 Alouette. All the helicopters are Romanian made, licensed from France.

Lastly, the Romanian Army owns several AN-30 airplanes produced in the USSR that serve as aerial reconnaissance and cartography planes.

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