32 retired F-16 Fighter Falcons found a new operator in the Balkans
OSLO ($1=10.24 Norwegian Krones) — Norway has found a way to do with its retired F-16 Fighter Falcons. Romania will buy them. 32 F-16 fighter jets will end up in the Balkans after negotiations between Romania and Norway ended with the signing of a bilateral agreement on November 4th. The Norwegian government officially announced the deal. The amount Bucharest will have to pay Oslo is not specified, but it includes support, spare parts, technical training, and support equipment.
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Years ago, the Royal Norwegian Air Force retired quite a few aircraft models. In addition to the F-16, over the years Norway has used the combat capability of the North American F-86K, Republic F-84G, F-104 Starfighter, Northrop F-5, Lockheed T-33, Fairchild PT-26, Catalina PB5Y-A, Douglas C -47, DHC-3 Otter, Noorduyn Norseman, Cessna O-1, Bell UH-1B, and the Bell 47G helicopter. Today, Norwegian pilots fly the F-35 Lightning II, with 27 fully operational and 15 more to be delivered.
Romania, on the other hand, will increase its air combat capability as well. Currently, in addition to the aging Soviet MiG-21s, the Romanian Air Force operates 14 F-16 Fighter Falcons. The Romanians bought them secondhand from the Portuguese Air Force years ago. Thus, in the coming years, the Romanian Air Force will number 46 F-16 fighters.
Of course, the US agreed to sell the obsolete F-16s to the Norwegians. The government in Oslo announced that the modernization and maintenance processes of the already Romanian F-16s are starting. Bucharest expects to receive them within 12 months in the period 20223 and 2024.
One of the most recognizable brands in the world – Kongsberg Aviation Maintenance Services will be the leading integrator of the modification of the Romanian F-16s. They should be modified to level M6.5.2, which is the Romanian standard. In this way, the Norwegian government ensured that local industry remained key during and after modernization. In a similar spirit was the statement of the Norwegian Minister of Defense, Mr. Bjorn Arild Gram. He stated that apart from the sale, the after-sales service generates revenue for the state and the industry.
At the same time, Mr. Gram expressed his satisfaction that the now ex-Norwegian F-16s will continue to defend NATO skies and go to a partner country. In his statement, the defense minister praised Romania’s new F-16s, saying they are one of the most maintained in the world, stressing that over the years Norway has spared no expense to follow the spirit of upgrades and new technologies to be integrated into the fighters.
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