Defence Minister Stanisoara about acquisition of multi-role aircraft

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National Defence Minister Mihai Stanisoara has not ruled out the possibility of the acquisition of aircraft in use to replace the MIG 21 LanceRs currently equipping the Romanian Air Forces, also specifying that no final decision has been made so far.

‘We are waiting for all the required information in order to table the issue to the Romanian Supreme Defence Council (CSAT). We are currently waiting for the U.S. side to send information on the likely acquisition of several F-16 aircraft.

Nevertheless, there is no decision or any tendency. Actually, we are gathering information about new aircraft of any possible type, but along with these possibilities we want to put forward the version of an aircraft in use to make the transition for a certain time span till a possible acquisition of the F-35 aircraft,’ Minister Stanisoara said.

He stressed that the variant of using a F-16 aircraft currently in use is one of the variants proposed by the Air Forces themselves. ‘Very seriously, if you ask, everybody prefers piloting a new aircraft. Perhaps we’ll have to take into account our financial power, at the moment, as well,’ said Stanisoara.

The Air Forces General Staff (SMFA) officially admitted, early in July, that it was conceiving a new strategy for buying multi-role aircraft, which means to buy first the aircraft to make the transition to the fifth generation equipment, over the coming 10-12 years.

‘Here is how the new management team at the SMFA has approached the matter. We are now discussing the transition period of 10-12 years to ensure the next step, to the 5th generation aircraft, to last for more 20-30 years,” the SMFA head General Ion Aurel Stanciu told.

According to military sources, SMFA could buy 48 or 54 fighter jets to make the transition to the 5th generation combat aircraft. The MIG 21 LanceRs are to stop flying in 2013.

The SMFA head also added that the new management team would decide whether the aircraft to be bought for the transition interval would be new or ‘second hand.’

‘We must act wisely and firmly, confronting the mission we are to accomplish with the costs and the benefits, so that we can envisage the next steps for the young generation pilots,’ Gen. Stanciu said.

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