Romania has officially retired its remaining Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighters as it accelerates the replacement of the Soviet-era type.

Bucharest in 2022 set the out-of-service date for the MiG-21 fleet following a fatal accident involving the type. It is replacing them with second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16s acquired from Norway.

Romania MiG-21-c-Romanian defence ministry

Source: Romanian defence ministry

Just 16 examples remained in service with Romanian air force

FlightGlobal’s latest World Air Forces directory listed the Romanian air force as operating 16 MiG-21s as of November 2022.

Cirium fleets data records Romania’s MiG-21s as a little under 50 years old.

Romania MiG-21 three-c-Romanian defence ministry

Source: Romanian defence ministry

Farewell events were held on 15 May

The retirement leaves Croatia as the solitary MiG-21 operator in Europe. Including Romania’s inventory, 336 examples are still in active use globally, Cirium details.

In November last year, Romania’s defence ministry signed a €388 million ($421 million) contract to acquire 32 surplus F-16A/Bs from Norway, with the jets to be transferred from late 2023.

Romania MiG-21 second-c-Romanian defence ministry

Source: Romanian defence ministry

Soviet-era jets will be replaced by secondhand F-16s