Former Norwegian Air Force F-16 fighter jets to replace aging Romania’s MiG-21s

The Romanian Defense Ministry has agreed with the government of Norway to purchase F-16AM/BM multirole fighter jets, which had previously served the Royal Norwegian Air Force (Luftforsvaret). 

Under the three-year contract, which is valued at around $384,4 million (€388 million), Romania agreed to buy a total of 32 F-16AM/BM fighters in M6.5.2 configuration. The deal, which was officially announced on November 4, 2022, also includes spare fighter jet engines and other necessary spare parts as well as training for the ground maintenance personnel. 

Deliveries of the military planes are set to begin by the end of 2023 and should be completed during 2024.

The former Norwegian Air Force F-16s will replace the aging Romanian Air Force (RoAF) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighters.

The Romanian Air Force has recorded numerous incidents involving its MiG-21 fleet. For example, a single MiG-21 crashed in Constanța County in June 2017. Another fighter jet of the type suffered technical difficulties and crashed during an airshow in Borcea in July 2018.

In April 2021, a RoAF MiG-21 crashed in an uninhabited zone in Mureș County during its training flight. Fortunately, the pilot managed to eject safely and survived the incident. Most recently, in March 2022, a MiG-21 crashed during adverse weather conditions near the village of Gura Dobrogei, Cogealac Commune.  

In response to the high rate of incidents, the RoAF suspended MiG-21 operations in spring 2022. However, it later resumed fighter jet flights for a period of one year, until May 2023. 

According to Norwegian Defense Minister Bjorn Arild Gram, the recent deal reflects “an important contribution in view of reinforcing a NATO ally’s air force” and will benefit both Norwegian and Romanian defense industries. 

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