Romania is on schedule to acquire the first Patriot missile defence system, and the contract is expected to be signed by the end of the year, Romania’s Defence Minister Mihai Fifor said Friday.
“We are on schedule with the acquisition of the first Patriot system. By the end of the year, we will have the contract signed and we will pay for the first system, which will be delivered in the first half of 2018. We are talking about a Government to Government purchase, a purchase which payment is done in advance and with delivery in the period immediately ahead,” Fifor said after attending the Bucharest Forum.
He mentioned that such purchases are made with the national Parliament’s approval.
He also talked about other acquisitions in progress. “We are in the process of buying the first 8×8 armoured personnel carriers. Precisely today at 11:00hrs, we are scheduled to meet the Romanian prime minister and General Dynamics representatives at the Government House, and we hope that very soon, perhaps even next week, we sign a memorandum of understanding with General Dynamics and, at the same time, the contract between the Defence Ministry and this company so we can make the payments,” Fifor said.
Asked about the amount to be paid for these carriers, the minister replied: “It depends on how many carriers we buy, because there was an initial discussion of 10 carriers. Unfortunately, the programme is a bit late but the company has promised us that as soon as all of these documents are completed, we will be able to move on to the purchase. We hope to stay under agreement and buy 10 pieces.”
According to Fifor, these 10 carriers are the first in a batch of 30 to be manufactured in Switzerland.
“We will start production at the Bucharest Mechanical Plant starting with the 31st carrier. We are talking about technology transfer and industrial cooperation between General Dynamics and the Bucharest Mechanical Plant,” said Fifor.
“Defence begins at home; it is Romania’s duty to invest in securing its borders”
Defence begins at home, and it is Romania’s duty to invest in this area, Minister of National Defence Mihai Fifor said on Friday.
“Defence begins at home, and it is our duty to invest in defence to secure our borders and to contribute to the stability and security of the entire Euro-Atlantic community” Fifor told Bucharest Forum.
He said that the allocation of 2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for defence spending represents “proof that Romania is committed to accelerating the modernisation process of its armed forces.”
“We are reiterating our commitment to strengthen our armed capabilities and to support the modernisation of the Romanian Armed Forces to effectively combat asymmetric and hybrid threats and to intensify strategic partnerships. Another goal is to increase our interoperability with NATO allies and partners,” said Fifor.
According to him, the acquisition of major defence equipment is a priority.
“New opportunities for cooperation with defence companies of Romania will emerge and contribute to the development of the defence sector (…). All the procurement programs currently being unfolded by the Ministry of Defence aim to increase the participation of business operators as product integrators or by calling on Romanian and international companies,” Fifor said.
At the same time, Fifor specified that the Governance Program 2017-2020 underlines the importance of revitalising the national defence industry.
“I am reiterating our willingness to make every effort to bring this sector to the level of defence industries elsewhere in NATO and the EU,” Fifor said.
He also mentioned the “complex security situation” on the eastern flank of NATO.
“We support a unitary approach of this flank, to respond adequately to the specific defence and security needs in the Black Sea region (…) Romania is very involved in the design of action guidelines for stability. We strongly believe that we have to keep on strengthening our defence capabilities and the resilience of the neighbouring partners, both from the East and the South (…) The new neighbourhood policy of the European Union, together with NATO’s security policy, should project a vision for the long run to develop relations with countries in the vicinity of Europe and the transatlantic community,” Fifor said.
In his view, “a flexible framework for cooperation” is needed for the world community that will contribute to the preservation of democracy, confidence, stability and prosperity.
“Romania, as a member of the European and Transatlantic Community, is fully committed to consolidating this role in the region and contributing to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Romania is also committed to providing security to member states,” Fifor said.