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Romania Joins the Prestigious NATO F-35 Club

“Romania Bolsters NATO with Addition of F-35 JSF Fighter Jets”

Romania, a member of the Atlantic Alliance, has recently announced its procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fifth-generation stealth fighters, strengthening NATO. This decision comes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which prompted the deployment of these aircraft by the US Air Force to the region. Enhancing Defense Capabilities Romania had been considering acquiring F-35s even before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

However, the deployment of these planes by the United States likely emphasized the significance of having a robust and effective air defense system. The Romanian Supreme Defense Council emphasizes the importance of possessing strong, credible, interoperable, flexible, and efficient air defense capabilities to achieve their defense policy objectives. In addition to the F-35s, Romania has also obtained US-made M1 Abrams tanks and Israel’s Watchkeeper X unmanned aerial systems, showcasing its commitment to modernizing its military and playing a vital role in regional security within NATO and the EU.

Romania in the European Context Formerly part of the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, Romania joined NATO in March 2004. Since then, it has steadily increased its defense spending, with plans to raise its budget to 2.5% of its GDP in the upcoming year. Romania is also a member of the OSCE and CCAN, sharing a 650 km border with Ukraine. Control over the FocÈ™ani Gate, located near the Moldova and Ukraine border, is deemed crucial for Romania and NATO’s security, granting access to vast stretches of Romanian territory and other European regions. Hence, Romania’s acquisition of the F-35 marks another step in modernizing its air force and reinforcing its role within NATO and the European Union.

F-35: A NATO Fighter The F-35 Lightning II is a highly advanced and sophisticated aircraft, operated or planned to be operated by several NATO members, including the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Italy, Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Finland, Poland, and Switzerland. Romania’s procurement of these aircraft underscores its dedication to military modernization and its strategic alliance within NATO.

Future Defense in Europe Numerous EU and NATO countries have increased their defense spending in response to Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. Romania’s acquisition of the F-35 exemplifies this trend and highlights the significance of a robust and efficient defense system within the European region. With the inclusion of the F-35s, Romania is well-prepared to fulfill its missions and continue serving as a pillar of security in Europe.


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