On Thursday, Romania paid for the first Patriot surface-to-air missile battery, and the Romanian Armed Forces are not on a shopping spree with public funds, but is trying to bring investments as high as possible in the national defence industry, through close cooperation – at industrial level – with arms producers, Defence Minister Mihai Fifor stated on Thursday during the debates within the joint committees on budget and finances, debates that focused on the Defence Ministry budget.
Defence Minister Mihai Fifor and U.S. Ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm (photo L) signed in early November, at the Defence Ministry’s headquarters, the Offer Letter for the acquisition of Patriot long-range surface-to-air missile systems. The batteries will be commissioned within Romania’s Land and Air Forces in the second part of 2019, the first battery set to become operational in mid-2020.
“The Romanian Armed Forces did not go shopping. We don’t intend to go shopping with budget money. We’re trying to bring sums as high as possible to the defence industry. We’re trying to relaunch the Romanian defence industry. With this money, we want to achieve a technology transfer through cooperation with large, well-known defence companies,” Fifor stated.
Fifor gave as an example the contract based on which the Land Forces will buy 227 Piranha V armoured personnel carriers, 200 of which will be assembled at the Bucharest Mechanical Plant.
The Defence Ministry’s 2018 budget was approved on Thursday within the joint committees on budget and finances, six amendments being rejected. Next year, the ministry will have a budget of RON 18.16 billion (11.3 percent hike year-on-year), representing 2 percent of GDP, Romania’s commitment to NATO thus being respected.