The entry into the National Air Police Service under national command of the first squadron equipped with the F-16 aircraft represents a significant moment in the 15-year history of Romania’s membership of the North Atlantic Alliance, the Minister of National Defense, Gabriel Les, said on Thursday, adding through the missions to be carried out from now on by the 53rd Fighter Squadron, our country’s airspace will be even better defended.
“Today we are writing an important history page for the Romanian Air Force. We can say that, through the missions that will be carried out starting today by the 53rd Fighter Squadron, the Romanian airspace will be better defended. The 86th Air Base was reborn with the decision to host F-16 aircraft. This place can be said to be the restart point for the Romanian Air Force, which thus gains access to the category of military aviation flying with one of the most effective combat aircraft in the world,” said Gabriel Les, present at the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft launch ceremony in the permanent combat service deployed at the 86th Air Force ”Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociornita” Borcea, Calarasi County.
In his opinion, the gradual shift from the MiG-21 Lancer, which will come out of use in the following years, to the F-16 multirole aircraft, has a special symbolism for our country.
“I believe that the entry into the permanent Air Police Service under national command, of the first Squadron equipped with the F-16 aircraft is a milestone in the 15-year history of our membership of the North Atlantic Alliance. This squadron is just a first step in materializing the major multirole airplane capability,” Les said.
He pointed out that at the end of last year there were talks on the purchase of five F-16s in Portugal. The Minister of Defense expressed his wish that the modernization of the aircraft that could be taken over should be done in units within the Romanian Defense Industry.
“By launching the F-16 aircraft air police missions we can say that the multirole aircraft strategic plan brings to maturity the first stage of its implementation. I know the huge effort that has been made for the operationalisation of this program (…) and I can tell you that the agreements concluded by the Romanian Government with those of Portugal and the United States of America were the best option at that time to endow the Romanian Air Force with advanced aircraft, allowing a wide range of missions to be carried out in accordance with modern operating concepts proven to be reliable and effective in real combat conditions,” Gabriel Les said.
According to him, the Borcea Air Base is under strong development and the modernization and expansion of the base at Campia Turzii is being envisaged in the future.
Air Force Staff’s chief: Introduction of F-16 aircraft in combat service adds significant boost in capability
Chief of the Air Force Staff (SMFA) Viorel Pana believes that the introduction of the F-16 multi-role jet in the combat service adds a significant boost in capability, especially in the context of the current security environment at the Black Sea.
“The completion of this mission is only a stage of the major multi-role jet endowment program of the Romanian Air Force. The Air Police is that combat mission that ensures, in peace time, the action capability against air platforms that use without authorization the national airspace,” Viorel Pana said on Thursday on the occasion of the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft’s inauguration ceremony, under national command, in the permanent Air Police combat service.
He explained that the next stage within the major program is carrying out this mission under NATO command, and this requires the continuation of the operational process and the certification of the squadron.
“The Romanian Air Force will continue this important program for the defense of Romania by completing the first squadron up to the NATO standards, the establishment and endowment of Squadrons 2 and 3, along with the training of flying and technical-engineering personnel, as well as the development of the air base’s operational infrastructure,” said Viorel Pana.
Pilot Catalin Miclos, the commander of the 53 Squadron, said that all 12 F-16s can perform combat missions. He expressed the hope that other planes of this type will be purchased.
General Catalin Bahneanu, Commander of 86 Air Base, said that the F-16 is a new, multi-role capability, much better than the warplanes Romania had and said NATO certification could come in a few months.
PM Dancila: Modernisation of Romanian Air Force, important results in recent years
Important result have been achieved in recent years as concerns the modernisation of the Romanian Air Force and the endowment with state-of-the-art aircraft that have proven their effectiveness within NATO and allow for a wide range of missions to be addressed, contributing to the deterrence of any hostile intentions, prime Minister Viorica Dancila said at the ceremony introducing the F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft in the National Air Police Service under national command at the 86th Air Base “Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociornita” in southeastern Borcea, Calarasi County.
“It is an important day for the Romanian Air Force, which can operate as of today the best performing aircraft in defense of the national airspace, but also for Romania, which has managed to significantly strengthen our defense capabilities. The modernisation of the Air Force has seen important results in recent years. The endowment with technologically advanced aircraft that have demonstrated their effectiveness in NATO and have allowed for a wide range of missions, contributes to the deterrence of any hostile intentions that may come from this geographical area. The Government will provide all the necessary support for the continuation of this modernization process essential in order to strengthen our country’s posture and to increase Romania’s security profile. We celebrate 15 years since joining the North Atlantic Alliance, and Romania proves once again that it responsibly assumes the position of a serious and reliable partner, a true pillar of stability in the Black Sea region,” said the prime minister.