Romania plans to acquire five more F-16s from Portugal’s surplus stocks.
Under a draft law passed on November the 28th, the Romanian government outlined the procurement, noting that the additional aircraft will have the same M.5.2R configuration as the Romanian Air Force’s existing inventory of 12 F-16s also sourced from Portugal. Eventually all 17 fighters will be upgraded to a new standard called M.6.X.
According to local media, the draft law must still be approved by the Romanian Parliament, though due to the limited scope of the procurement, it should not be an issue.
Romania procured its first batch of 12 F-16s from Portugal under a government-to-government deal inked on October the 11th, 2013. These consisted of nine single-seat A-standard units acquired by Portugal from the U.S. in 1999 under the Peace Atlantis II program, as well as three two-seat B-standard fighters purchased by Portugal in used condition from the U.S. through its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program for resale.
The 12 fighters underwent revamps and upgrading to the AM/BM standard by Lockheed Martin prior to delivery, which began on September the 27th, 2016, with the handover of the first six units. This was followed by the delivery of three more on December the 13th, 2016; the final three units arrived in October 2017.
In March 2019 the entire 12-unit fleet was declared to have reached Initial Operational Capability by Defense Minister Gabriel Les at the 86th Air Force Base in Borcea.