Romania to buy €3.4bn Patriot system as it ramps up military spending

Romania to buy €3.4bn Patriot system as it ramps up military spending
By Iulian Ernst in Bucharest July 27, 2017

Romania’s Defence Minister Adrian Tutuianu has confirmed Bucharest plans to buy a $3.9bn (€3.4bn) Patriot missile defence system, as he outlined plans for future defence procurement. 

The US state department recently approved the possible sale of a Patriot missile defence system to Romania, as Bucharest boosts military spending. At the time, the government was reportedly still considering other suppliers, but according to Tutuianu has now picked the Patriot system. 

Romania will make the first payment for the Patriot missile system in November this year after the parliament endorses a special law for this purchase, Tutuianu announced on July 26, quoted by 

The government will also purchase HIMARS mobile missile systems worth some €700mn and 36 new F-16 jet fighters from the US by 2022, Tutuianu added. In the shorter term, Romania’s defence ministry needs 173 lorries “in a first stage” and around 100 buses for transporting troops, Tutuianu announced, hinting that more lorries will be acquired later.

The ministry will purchase quickly 30 large buses and 72 smaller buses for the transportation of troops. As regards the lorries, unless a direct purchase is legally possible, a simplified auction will be launched, Tutuianu said. Indeed, a couple of weeks earlier a large military truck failed to function leading to the death of two people, highlighting the poor condition of the military equipment currently in use.

As regards the HIMARS mobile missile systems, three systems with 18 launching units will be purchased. The systems, which compared to Patriot are more mobile, have been used by the US military since 2005 and more recently were acquired by Jordan and the UAE. The HIMARS systems will not be purchased immediately and no payments will be made this year.

The 36 F-16 new jet fighters come after nine such aircraft arrived already and three more are expected this year. Romania has approached the US government for the purchase of F-16 fighter jets, the then minister of defence Mihnea Motoc said at the final meeting of the government headed by former prime minister Dacian Ciolos on December 21. 

Romania has previously purchased second-hand fighter jets from European countries (12 refurbished F-16 fighters from Portugal). However, given the current security context, none of them answered Romania’s request this time, Motoc said. Romania therefore approached the government of the country where the jets are produced.

According to national legislation and European directives, the Romanian authorities can purchase military equipment without a public tender, under special procedures. Specifically, the procedures are regulated by emergency decree OUG 114/2011, which is backed by EU Directive 2009/81/CE.