Ministry of National Defence
Information and Public Relations Directorate
No.262 - 29 September 2016
Take Over Ceremony of the First F-16 Aircraft from Portugal
The Minister of National Defence, Mihnea Motoc, made a visit in Portugal on Wednesday, September 28, at the invitation of his Portuguese countepart, José Alberto de Azeredo Lopes, at the official takeover of the first six aircraft F-16 Fighting Falcon by the Romanian Air Force.
The first part of the program was dedicated to official talks, an opportunity for the two ministers to assess possible ways of enhancing military cooperation, through bilateral projects and as NATO and EU partners.
The developments in the current security environment were another topic of discussion. Minister Motoc stressed the importance Romania gives to the major political decisions taken by the chiefs of state and government at NATO Summit in Warsaw, mainly to the implementation, in a credible and efficient manner, of the decisions related to the Tailored Forward Allied Presence at the Black Sea, along the land, air and naval components.
Minister Motoc said he was satisfied with the stage of implementing the Strategic Procurement Program of F-16 multirole aircraft, that unfolds properly and in the agreed parameters.
The official talks were followed by the ceremony conducted at the 5th Air Base in Monte Real, when the first six of the 12 F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole aircraft were officially handed over, in the attendance of Prime Minister António Costa and the Portuguese defence minister.
In his speech, Minister Mihnea Motoc pointed out that this is a historic day for the Romanian Air Force, the day when the first F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft will officially bear the tricolor insignia.
”These fighter aircraft equipping now the Romanian military means joining the “F-16” Club” and the chance of a new beginning for the Romanian piloting school, that takes pride in its tradition, one of the oldest in the world, that now has the opportunity to contribute to training elite pilots”, the Romanian minister stated.
Minister Motoc also pointed out that the 12 multirole aircraft squadron, that make the object of the Romanian-Portuguese agreement, is a first step in creating a robust and relevant air capability in the region and will be followed by the acquisition and then operalization, in the next stage, of a second squadron. ”The aircraft that allow carrying out a wide range of missions, in agreement with the modern operating concepts that proved efficent to NATO, will ensure the durable air defence of our country”, the Romanian defence minister said further.
Mihnea Motoc stressed that operating the F-16 Fighting Falcon squadrons is a prerequisite for our country’s eligibility to joining the F-35 – program, the final goal of this ambitious program to upgrade the Romanian fighting aviation – and the means that make this transition possible.
Finally, Minister Motoc pointed out that the program could become the means to develop and extend Romanian-Portuguese relations, an excellent point of reference and a base of lessons learned for future larger cooperation projects in economic field, that have a great development potential.
The six aircraft will arrive in Romania today, September 29, operated by Romanian pilots and will be presented during an official reception ceremony to take place next week, according to a schedule that will be announced by the defence ministry.