Romania Acquires 32 F-16s From Norway

Romania F-16
File photo of a Norwegian F-16 taking off on a QRA mission. (Photo: Royal Norwegian Air Force)

The retired F-16s will be upgraded and delivered beginning from 2023.

The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) has signed a contract with Romania, worth 388 million Euro (385M USD), for the sale of 32 F-16 aircraft retired by the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RoNAF) earlier this year. Romania has expressed interest in acquiring the Norwegian F-16s since 2021. A final agreement was signed on Nov. 4, 2022 and includes the 32 aircraft along with spare parts and support equipment, as well as maintenance and technical training services.

“I am very pleased that we have been able to finalize this agreement, which is Norway’s largest ever sale of government owned military equipment. Norwegian F-16s have been among the best maintained of their kind, with high technical standards throughout”, said Ms. Gro Jære, Director General of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency. “I congratulate the negotiation teams of both countries for their efforts. Through this agreement, our F-16s will continue to serve one of our NATO-allies for several years to come”.

Under the contract, all aircraft will undergo necessary maintenance and aircraft modification to the same M6.5.2 Operational Flight Program (OFP) software of the Romanian F-16 already in service. This work will be conducted by Norwegian industry, which also will provide training and other logistical services that will support the long-term availability of the aircraft. The deliveries are currently scheduled to start in late 2023 and conclude in 2024.

“When selling the F-16 fleet we have worked to also secure opportunities for Norwegian industry,” said Ms. Jære. “In this particular case, to supplement our sale of aircraft and equipment, Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services has been chosen as a strategic partner, delivering support, maintenance and training of Romanian technical personnel”.

In 2019 the Norwegian Ministry of Defence tasked the NDMA with the sale and disposal of the Norwegian F-16 fleet after its retirement from service in a way most beneficial to the Norwegian state. The F-16s flew their last mission after 42 years of service when the F-35A took over the Quick Reaction Alert mission in January 2022. Draken International already acquired 12 Norwegian F-16s last year, together with other 12 aircraft from the Netherlands, to be used to provide adversary training in the United States.

Romania currently operates 17 F-16A/B Block 15 Mid-Life Upgrade (MLU) fighters, acquired from Portugal and with deliveries completed in 2021, together with 16 MiG-21 Lancer fighters. The latter will be retired by next year and replaced by the 32 F-16 Block 20 from Norway, which are expected to fly at least for ten years.

About Stefano D'Urso
Stefano D'Urso is a freelance journalist and contributor to TheAviationist based in Lecce, Italy. A graduate in Industral Engineering he's also studying to achieve a Master Degree in Aerospace Engineering. Electronic Warfare, Loitering Munitions and OSINT techniques applied to the world of military operations and current conflicts are among his areas of expertise.