Defence minister Mihai Fifor has announced on Friday that the Romanian air space is currently defended only the British aircraft after MiG 21 Lancers had been grounded following the tragedy last week a Romanian MIG 21 Lancer had crashed and the pilot died.
The procedure after this kind of incidents says that all MiGs should be on the ground until causes of the tragedy are identified.
Therefore, Romania has now resorted to the British partners deployed at the „Mihai Kogalniceanu” air base in Constanta (eastern Romania) to fly over the Romanian air space.
„After the tragedy last week (editor note: air show dedicated to the Open Doors Day near Fetesti), when we lost one of the best pilots of Romania’s Air Force, the MiGs remain on the ground. At the present moment, the air police is secured by the British partners with four Typhoons. If necessary, we can connect with the Falcon aicraft of the Romanian Air Force. There are frequent entrances of the Russian Federation’s aircraft in the Romanian air space. There are standard NATO procedures, to scramble air police aircraft and enforce specific procedures,” Romanian DefMin explained.
Defence Ministry to buy five more F-16s from Portugal
The Ministry of National Defence (MoD) intends to buy five more F16 fighter planes from Portugal, in order to complete the squadron and will promote in Parliament a bill to continue the programme, Minister Fifor has said on Friday.
“A few days ago, State Secretary Mircea Dusa paid a visit to Portugal. He had discussions and he has continued the talks during the NATO summit, with the Portuguese partners, from which we bought the twelve F16 fighters for the Romanian Air Forces. We intend to buy five more aircraft to complete the squadron. In the coming period we will discuss about the 36 F16 fighters we have informed you about, the ones we want to have with the Romanian Air Forces,” Mihai Fifor said.
Asked about the budget for the F16s, the minister said: “We will discuss about the budget allocation when we are certain about the acquisition of the aircraft,” adding that it is premature to talk about this.
“There are several possibilities at the moment. We have talked to several countries endowed with F16s and can sell some of them, meaning the US, Israel, Greece. The five aircraft I was talking about will come from Portugal, it was only natural to continue the cooperation for this programme,” Fifor said.