Defence Minister Mihai Fifor, attending on Thursday the stocktaking meetings on the previous year of the Air Force and Navy General Staffs, stated on this occasion that the Navy’s equipping with corvettes is a key project, that the upgrading of the two frigates will also be unlocked, and the conditions will be set in place to start the procurement of mobile anti-ship missile launchers.
“I said it publicly that 2018 is the year when we start the large scale procurement projects for the Navy and I maintain this commitment,” Minister Fifor said according to a Defence Ministry release issued on Thursday.
He assured that the management of the National Defence Ministry handles the completion of procedures for the start within shortest time of the Navy procurement programs as a top priority.
“The key project is undoubtedly the endowment with multipurpose corvettes, because this is how we will unlock, via the corvette procurement offset agreement, the modernization program for the two frigates and at the same time, we will also have the conditions in place to start the procurement of mobile anti-ship missile launchers – which will use the same type of missiles as those for the corvettes. Therefore, it depends only on us to start as soon as possible these three programs that will primarily render our Navy relevant to the national coastal defence system, as well as to the future North Atlantic Alliance missions,” said Fifor.
The Minister of Defence mentioned that in 2017 the Romanian Air Force succeeded in putting behind some important stages in the modernization of war technology, citing the completion of the initial stage for the F-16 fighter jets entering service, by the takeover of the last three aircraft out of the 12-unit squadron of multi-role machines, as well as the signing of the acquisition contract for the first Patriot long-range surface-to-air missile system.
As for the goals set for 2018 and the next period in terms of endowment plans, Minister Fifor mentioned, among others, the continuation of the Patriot procurement program – as the necessary steps have been taken for 2018 and the budget has been allocated for the acquisition of the second system, the continuation of the process of equipping the Air Force with multi-role combat aircraft – by identifying solutions to purchase another 36 F16s, as well as preparing plans for the procurement of new helicopters.