Six used Lockheed Martin F-16s will be delivered to the Romanian air force in Portugal on 28 September, the nation's defence minister announced on 27 September.

The aircraft – which already bear the Romanian service's tricolour roundel – are the first batch from a 12-aircraft deal with the Portugese government signed in 2013.

“Although I hesitate to use big words when talking about acquisitions,” defence minister Mihnea Motoc writes on his Facebook page, “I have to say that tomorrow will be a truly historic day for Romania and its army.”

The 2013 deal includes training and support by Lockheed.

Romania has been looking to modernise a Soviet-era fleet of Mikoyan MiG-21 multirole fighters for more than a decade. Its defence ministry considered offers based on the Saab Gripen and Dassault Rafale before opting for the NATO-standard F-16.