While Bulgaria discusses fighter jets, Romania purchases Patriot missiles

Written by on October 27, 2017 in Europe - Comments Off on While Bulgaria discusses fighter jets, Romania purchases Patriot missiles

In Bulgaria, a big drama is surrounding the need for new fighter jets. The latest twist in the never-ending story is that Bulgarian Air Force pilots at the Graf Ignatiev base did not want to fly their old and potentially dangerous MiG fighters for several days. After months of discussing a possible purchase of Swedish Gripen jets, Bulgaria seems to be back at square one.

Things look very different in Romania, Bulgaria’s northern neighbour. The Ministry of Defence in Bucharest is actually on a big shopping spree. Not only do the Romanians purchase weapons systems, just as if Christmas was around the corner, but they also make sure some of their purchases create jobs and generate taxes on their own turf.

First of all, Bucharest will pay 764.7 million US dollars, the equivalent of 657 million euro, for seven Patriot Missile systems. Four of those defensive systems will be given to the Romanian Air Force. The remaining three systems will be used by the Army.

Patriot Missiles are defensive systems, which have been successfully used in both Gulf Wars as well as by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), against missile attacks by the terror organisation Hamas. The systems are capable of destroying missiles in flight.

Maintenance and training are part of the deal Bucharest struck with the United States of America. The price agreed upon will be paid in advance, the Romanian publication profit.ro reports.

There is more: The Romanian Defense Ministry will also buy armoured vehicles of the type Piranha 5. But this is not just a purchase. The government in Bucharest and the American company General Dynamics will create a joint venture in Romania, which will build those vehicles.

In a similar agreement, Romania signed for the purchase of several Airbus H215 helicopters for the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Those helicopters will be built at Airbus’s plant in Brașov, located in Central Romania.

According to Romanian media reports, the agreement with Airbus was signed when French President Emmanuel Macron visited Romania recently.

In the meantime, Romania’s Air Force seems to be in a much better shape than the Bulgarian one. Last year, the Romanians bought as many as twelve F-16 fighters from Portugal.

In contrast, most of Bulgaria’s MiGs do not seem to be airworthy. After a fly-by of three MiGs on the Day of the Army, which took place on May 6 2017, the entire centre of Sofia smelled of kerosene.

 

 

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