Romania could buy up to 24 F-16 new Block 50/52 aircraft and additional 24 upgraded F-16 Block 25 aircraft, as part of an arms deal worth up to US$4.5 billion. The planned sale was officially unveiled in a US Defense Security Cooperation Agency notification to the Congress published last week. The source of the used F-16s has not been identified. These aircraft could be retired US Air Force aircraft or, utilize surplus F-16 operated by other countries.

In the past Romania expressed interest in obtaining upgraded F-16s from Israel and Belgium. The refurbished component of the package will consist of Block 25s aircraft. They are equipped with the F100-PW-220 Increased Performance Engines (IPE) engines and APG-68(V)1 radars. Romania has been considering the procurement a combination of new and refurbished fighters for several years. These aircraft should replace the aging Lancers (upgraded MiG-21s) currently in use. However, a formal decision has not been made public yet. Officially, Bucharest is still considering all options, including the leas/buy option for the Gripen, and a possible procurement of the Eurofighter Typhoon, to name only a few.

If the F-16 will be chosen, the final configuration of the aircraft will have to be determined. Generally, the aircraft is considered to be similar to the fighters bought by Poland. Some of the aircraft could be configured for ground attack, fitted with SINCGARS and HAVE-QUICK radios, Link-16 datalinks and AN/APX-113 advanced Identification Friend/Foe (IFF) systems, enabling the Romanian F-16s to operate as part of joint NATO operations. The Romanian air force will receive 12 targeting pods (either Litening or Sniper could be selected). Others will be configured to carry DB-110 reconnaissance pods (four pods are included in the package).

Rumania will have a choice of two engines for the new fighters, either the F100-PW-229 or F110-GE-129 Increased Performance Engines (IPE). All new aircraft will be fitted with the APG 68(V)9 radar. All aircraft will be delivered with an electronic defense suite. DSCA indicated that the Romanians will have a choice of three systems – the AN/ALQ- 211 Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suite (AIDEWS), the AN/ALQ-187 Advanced Countermeasures Electronic Systems (ACES), or AN/ALQ-178 Self-Protection Electronic Warfare Suites (SPEWS).

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