Romania Nears Deadline to Decide on Purchase of Used US F-16s
The Romanian government is supposed to decide by August 3 on the purchase of 24 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from the USA, the Adevarul paper reported.
The newspaper cites Gen. Ion Aurel Stanciu, Chief of the Romanian Air Force, on the US offer which expired on June 3 but was extended until August 3, 2010.
Thus, by August 3 Romania is supposed to send a letter of intention and to make the first payment payment of USD 750 M.
The US offer approved by the American Congress at the end of 2009 is for 24 F-16 C/D Block 25 fighters, and that Romania has to pay a total of USD 1.3 B for their modernization and for the building of infrastructure for their use.
Each of the fighters is over 20 years old, and the plane are being retired from the US Air Force. Romania will be able to use them for a period of 15 years after their modernization.
If the Romanian government does not take up the American offer, it will have to modernize its MiG-21 Lancer fighter jets, whose life is supposed to expire in 2011, reports the Romanian paper Adevarul.
It points that Romania has three option for the maximum of EUR 1 B that it can afford to pay. The US offer for 24 second hand F-16s is the first one; the second is buying 24 brand-new fighter jets from the Swedish manufacturer Gripen; the third option is getting 24 Typhoon planes from the German-based company Eurofighter each of which is 2-3 years old.
The Romanian Air Force will be able to use the new Eurofighter Typhoon or Gripen airplanes for the next 25-30 years.
The Adevarul also points out that the US offer does not include an offset agreement while the Gripen and Eurofighter offers do.
Of the other Eastern European countries, Poland has bought new F-16 fighter jets, while Hungary and the Czech Republich have purchased Gripen planes. Earlier in 2010, the Romanian authorities announced they were going to go ahead with the US deal but subsequently decided to reconsider it.
Bulgaria is also considering the options to acquire new fighter jets; according to Defense Minister Anyu Angelov, the Ministry is going to decide by 2012-2013 which offer would be best suited to serve Bulgaria’s needs.
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