In a significant development, Romania, a NATO member, has grounded its entire fleet of MiG 21 LanceR fighter aircraft and will speed up a planned purchase of second-hand F-16s from Norway, said its defence ministry.
The Russia Ukraine war is significantly increasing the number of US weapons sales in Europe and in the Baltics. Incidentally, Romania shares a 400 mile (650-kilometre) border with Russia.
In 2016, Romania bought its first US F-16 jets from Portugal in 2016; it nows plans to buy 32 F-16 jets from Norway.
“The available resources of the aircrafts from the three squadrons ensure … their operation for a minimum of 10 years and will form an air capability of transition to fifth-generation F-35 jets,” said the ministry.
Romania is a member of the NATO military alliance since 2004. It plans on raising its defence spending to 2.5% of its GDP said Romanian President Klaus Iohannis.
Currently, Romania hosts more than 3,000 NATO troops; it will have a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory.