Romania will send 60 young officers to the United States to learn how to operate the Patriot missile system, the first system being due in the country end-2019 or beginning of 2020, National Defence Minister Mihai Fifor announced.
“We are very glad our schedule is going ahead as planned, it is the first year we kick off the selection and training part for those who will subsequently operate the patriot systems. (…) We are talking about 60 people who will go for training to the United States to be able to operate these systems,” Fifor said at the seat of the General Staff for the Air Forces, in the opening of an activity aimed at familiarizing the staff who will operate the anti-air and anti-missile Patriot systems with the usage procedures of the RT-3 (Reconfigurable Table Top Trainer) simulation system.
The minister specified that there will be such training stations for the Romanian servicemen as part of the contract concluded with the United States Government for these systems.
“We will have these training stations for the Romanian servicemen. They are part of the contract that we have concluded with the US Government for these systems, because we are also discussing about the training aspect. It is laborious programme, a programme that the 60 people will be carrying out in the United States too, but then they will continue the training in the country as well,” Fifor also said.
He specified that the first patriot system is expected in the country end-2019 or start-2020.
“I bring to mind that last year we made the payment of the first system, this year we are hoping that at the beginning of August we can pay the second patriot system. We are exactly within the framework that we have set for ourselves when we started conducting this major programme of investments,” Mihai Fifor affirmed.
The minister was hailing on 25 May the announcement of the United States Defence Department to award the contract kicking off the construction of the first Patriot unit for Romania.
According to the Defence Ministry, within the agreement concluded with the US Government, our country will endow its armed forces with the most recent configuration of the Patriot air-land long-range missile system, the PAC-3+ configuration, which includes both hardware and software elements conceived up to the level of 2017.
“Aircraft operated by Air Force are perfectly operational”
Mihai Fifor said on Monday that the aircraft operated by the Air Forces are perfectly operational.
His remarks come in the context of the aviation accident at the Borcea military airfield that claimed the life of Lieutenant-Commander Florin Rotaru.
“I want to tell you once again, and I assume this statement – the aircraft that the Air Force operates are perfectly functional. They do not go on mission without meeting all the flight conditions. As to the ongoing investigations, I cannot refer to these,” Fifor said at the headquarters of the Air Force Staff, at the opening of an activity of familiarizing the relevant staff with the procedures of using the Reconfigurable Table Top Trainer (RT-3) simulation system.
According to him, the minister of defense will never intervene in an investigation in terms of speeding it or slowing it down.
“I am going to tell you what I told you after the accident – the aircraft that pilots use are safe, they have all the technical checks to date. (…) As such, I invite you to wait for an official result of this investigation, the minister of defense will never intervene in an investigation in terms of speeding or slowing it down,” Fifor said.
A MiG 21 LanceR warplane, which took part on Sunday in an air show organized on the occasion of the Open Air Day at the Borcea Air Base, crashed near Fetesti and Florin Rotaru, the pilot of the aircraft, died.
The officer was 36 years old and served as chief pilot within No. 861 Squadron Combat Aviation, No. 86 Fetesti Air Base.