With F-16s from Portugal and Norway replacing the MiG-21 LanceR in Romanian service, Steven Coe reports from Bacău as the final jets fly into retirement
On May 15, the Forțele Aeriene Române (FAR; Romanian Air Force) retired its final Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 LanceRs after more than 60 years.
The type entered service in 1962, when the FAR received 12 Soviet-built MiG-21F-13s. Deliveries of different variants would continue throughout the Cold War until 1990, when it accepted its final MiG-21UMs, by which point 322 aircraft had been delivered. During this time the type was used as Romania’s primary interceptor and air superiority fighter. The aircraft were deployed to protect Romanian airspace and participated in training exercises and joint operations with other Warsaw Pact nations.