Romania could announce the winner of a tender for up to 48 new fighter aircraft within the next six months, say government defence representatives. However, the conclusion of its contest will depend on the near-term election of a new government and approval for a budget allocation that could yet reduce acquisition numbers.

Bucharest plans to replace its upgraded Aerostar MiG-21 Lancers from 2010-11 with a new fleet of at least 40 single-seat fighters and four two-seat trainers, with candidates including the Eurofighter Typhoon, Lockheed Martin F-16 and Saab Gripen. The deal is expected to be worth €4.5 billion ($6.2 billion), including training and initial logistics support.

Alenia Aeronautica's Eurofighter sales campaign director for Romania, Giuseppe Paoletti, says the four-nation consortium can satisfy the programme's requirement within the allocated budget, and deliver a requested 80% offset package for local industry, including a local assembly line and the ability to perform maintenance support and upgrades. The Eurofighter consortium has already assessed the technical capabilities of Avioane Craiova and is now evaluating Aerostar Bacau.

Eurofighter could also rapidly present a new proposal to supply Romania with refurbished and upgraded secondhand Typhoons if its defence ministry is forced to change its programme requirements, say industry sources.

Source: Flight International