Romanian F-16 upgrade approved by US

The US State Department announced on November 3 that it has approved the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of upgrade equipment to Romania, which seeks to modernise its Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fleet.

Approval of the potential deal, worth an estimated US$175.4m, was announced in a media release from the US State Department’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), after it had notified the US Congress. The deal covers the modernisation of the Romanian Air Force’s F-16AM/BM (Block 15MLU) Fighting Falcon fleet, which were purchased second-hand from Portugal and are currently being delivered.

Romanian F-16AM (Block 15MLU) [Romanian Ministry of National Defense/Adrian Sultănoiu]
The Romanian Air Force received two more Lockheed Martin F-16AM (Block 15MLU) Fighting Falcons on August 14, 2020. The aircraft are operated by the 53rd Fighter Squadron from the Borcea-Fetesti air base in Romania's Călărași County. Romanian Ministry of National Defense/Adrian Sultănoiu

The Romanian government has requested to buy upgrades for the F-16’s avionics, software, navigational aids, cockpit and communications equipment, as well as additional logistics support, aircraft spares and personnel training. It also includes: 19 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio Systems (MIDS JTRS); eight LN-260 global positioning systems; AN/APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) kits; ARC-210 radios and KIV-78 cryptographic appliques. The deal also covers aircraft minor modification, integration and test/software support equipment.

In the media release, the DSCA said: “The proposed sale will improve Romania’s capability to meet current and future threats by upgrading its avionics to meet interoperability requirements for encrypted communications systems used by NATO forces. This increased secure communications capability will assist Romania in the [defence] of its homeland and US personnel stationed there.

“Romania has demonstrated a significant financial commitment to [modernising] its military, which will further enhance its interoperability with NATO. Romania will have no difficulty absorbing these capabilities into its armed forces,” it added.

Lockheed Martin will serve as the principal contractor for this possible FMS. No offset agreements have been proposed in connection with this potential sale.