The country's economy still deep in recession, Romania's government has approved a plan to buy 24 secondhand rather than new F-16s and will send the proposal to parliament for approval.
The decision was announced (Google translation here) after a Mar. 23 meeting of the Supreme Council on National Defense (CAST), led by Romanian president Traian Basescu. The council approved the defense ministry's proposal to buy used F-16s to replace the air force's MiG-21 Lancers "because Romania does not have the financial resources necessary for the acquisition of new multi-role aircraft", the announcement says.
Romanian Lancers (Photo: Aerostar)
The US had offered Romania a choice of 24 new Block 50/52 F-16C/Ds with F110-129 or F110-229 engines and APG-68(V)9 radars, or refurbishment and upgrade of 24 ex-US Air Force Block 25 F-16C/Ds with F100-220 Increased Performance Engines and APG-68(V)1 radars.
Romania elected not to wait for the economy to improve because of its urgent need to replace the Lancers - MiG-21s upgraded in the 1990s by local company Aerostar in cooperation with Israel's Elbit Systems.