A contract for the sale of 32 second-hand Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF) Lockheed Martin F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons to Romania was signed by the Romanian government and the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) on November 4.
The contract is valued at €388m and came to fruition after the NDMA was tasked by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MOD) in 2019 to sell its fleet of F-16AM/BMs after the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II had taken over the frontline fighter role in RNoAF service. In 2021, Romania expressed its interest in replacing its ageing fleet of Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 LanceR B/Cs with Norway’s recently retired fleet of F-16AM/BM (MLU) Fighting Falcons.
As well as supplying the 32 Fighting Falcons, along with spare parts and support equipment, the contract will also include maintenance and technical training services. Deliveries to the Romanian Air Force are expected to take place in two batches, with the first currently scheduled to take place in late 2023 and the second set to follow in early 2024. Prior to their delivery, the aircraft will undergo necessary maintenance and modification to the Romanian M6.5.2 configuration with support from the US.
Gro Jære, the director general of the NDMA, commented: “I am very pleased that we have been able to finalize this agreement, which is Norway’s largest ever sale of government-owned military equipment. Norwegian F-16s have been among the best maintained of their kind, with high technical standards throughout [their operational life]. I congratulate the negotiation teams of both countries for their efforts. Through this agreement, our F-16s will continue to serve one of our NATO allies for several years to come.”
This deal comes after Norway sold 12 F-16AM/BMs to Draken International, a civilian contractor and provider of adversary air training services to several different global air arms, including the US Air Force and Royal Air Force.