Official sources reported that for the purchase of 32 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Norway, the Romanian Ministry of National Defence has asked the country’s lawmakers to approve the same while the deal shall get sealed under a contract estimated to be worth about €454 million ($513 million).
According to the information obtained by local broadcaster Digi24, the only partner with which an agreement could be reached was the Norwegian government after the Romanian ministry discussed potential acquisitions of used F-16s from a number of allies including Portugal, Norway, Greece, Denmark, Belgium and Netherlands.
The F-16 Fighter
The F-16 is a multi-role, highly manoeuvrable, supersonic, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft originally developed by General Dynamics for the United States Air Force (USAF). Designed as an air superiority day fighter, advanced aerodynamics and avionics are used by the fighter including the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire (RSS/FBW) flight control system, to achieve enhanced manoeuvre performance while the aircraft is much lighter and smaller than its predecessors.
The F-16 was the first fighter aircraft purpose-built to pull 9-g manoeuvres and can reach a maximum speed of over Mach 2. According to several reports, Over 4,600 aircraft have been built since production was approved in 1976.
The aircraft was designed with an intention of being relatively inexpensive to build and simpler to maintain than earlier-generation fighters. Apart from this, multiple locations for mounting various missiles, bombs and pods have been provided in its design while the fighter jet is also armed with an internal M61 Vulcan cannon in the left-wing root. A thrust-to-weight ratio greater than one is also equipped by the aircraft, providing power to climb and vertical acceleration.
For better visibility, the Fighting Falcon’s key features include a frameless bubble canopy while for ease control while manoeuvring, a side-mounted control stick has also been given and to reduce the effect of g-forces on the pilot, an ejection seat reclined 30 degrees from vertical is also provided. The F-16 has an internal M61 Vulcan cannon and 11 locations for mounting weapons and other mission equipment, on the other hand, the first use of a relaxed static stability/fly-by-wire flight control system that helps to make it an agile aircraft.
The €354 million deal
Along with a €100 million payment for logistics and equipment to the United States, the deal comprises a €354 million allocation to Norway.
As announced by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence earlier this month, as the Royal Norwegian Air Force is phasing out the aircraft which have been replaced by new F-35 fighter jets, the contract comes in light.
According to the Norwegian Defence Minister, until their replacement by the F-35, the F-16 has served the Norwegian Armed Forces and the nation very well for over 40 years. The official said that they wish to see the Norwegian F-16s in continued use by others within the NATO alliance and the Ministry of Defence has been clear on their wish.
The Romanian Air Force shall be able to retire its remaining outdated Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-21 aircraft when it acquires a further 32 fighter jets while the Air Force already operates 17 F-16s.