By Bijan Razzaghi
Romania has requested an additional 36 F-16s to replace the countries fleet of Mig-21s that have been in service for over 40 years. Romania currently operates 12 F-16 MLU Block 15s, which were purchased from Portugal.
The additional F-16s will further enhance the Romanian Air Forces capabilities by providing the air arm with a capable 4th generation fighter. The F-16 will be able to conduct air defense, close air support and strike missions. It is not clear which variant of the F-16 Romania will pursue; it is possible the F-16C Block 50/52 or Block 40/42 will be chosen. Romania could also seek the current F-16V model being pitched by Lockheed Martin.
Romania has been procuring western aircraft since joining NATO in 2004. During this process Romania has successfully been able to replace several of its older aircraft with western platforms. The additional 36 F-16s will allow Romania to completely retire the Mig-21 from service.
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