Saturday 5 August 2023

The Dawn Of Deterrence: Listing Romania’s Recent Arms Acquisitions

By Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans
Romania possesses the second largest military on NATO's eastern flank. Nonetheless, the country's inventory is largely comprised of Soviet-era equipment. In response to the 2014 Russian occupation of Crimea, Romania has undertaken a number of projects to modernise its military capabilities. Among the most important acquisitions to date are 49 F-16 fighter aircraft from Portugal and Norway, 7 Patriot SAM batteries, 54 M142 HIMARS and 54 M1A2 MBTs from the US and 21 Watchkeeper X UCAVs from Israel. Some of these contracts incorporate technology offset clauses, which ensures that Romanian companies play an essential role as subcontractors or component suppliers.
The modernisation of the Romanian Armed Forces has faced significant challenges, characterized by prolonged negotations and delayed delivery schedules. Among the crucial acquisitions planned for the Romanian Navy were four corvettes, for which a French-Romanian association headed by Naval Group emerged as the contract winner in 2019. Nevertheless, despite the passage of three years, the agreement between the state and Naval Group remains unsigned. In a bid to overcome these obstacles and diversify its sources of armament, Romania has taken a cue from Poland and is now exploring collaborations with other countries like South Korea. Negotiations are currently underway with South Korea to secure the procurement of various types of advanced weapons systems.

In April 2023, Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced a significant development for the Romanian Armed Forces, revealing plans for an "accelerated modernisation" phase commencing in 2023. This modernisation phase will be supported by a substantial budget of €6 billion, amounting to 2.5% of Romania's GDP. Notably, this allocation surpasses the 2% threshold mandated by NATO, demonstrating Romania's increasing commitment to bolstering its military capabilities and aligning with the alliance's defence standards.
This article attempts to list equipment acquisitions by the Romanian Army, Air Force and Navy. This list focuses on heavy weaponry and doesn't include ATGMs, MANPADS, small arms, command vehicles, engineering equipment, trucks, radars and ammunition. Mid-Life Updates (MLUs) are only included when they contribute to enhancing the weapons system's operational capabilities. This list will be updated as new acquisitions are reported.

Army - Forțele Terestre Române

Tanks (Future Quantity: 326)


Infantry Fighting Vehicles (Future Quantity: ~600)

Assault Amphibious Vehicles (Future Quantity: 21)

Specialist Armoured Vehicles

  • 80 Piranha Vs In Four Configurations (Command, CBRN, Recovery And Ambulance) [Delivery Ongoing]

Infantry Mobility And Tactical Vehicles

  • 129 JLTV M1278 Heavy Guns Carriers [To be delivered in the mid-2020s] (Will replace the HMMWVs used by the Special Forces)
  • Missing flag.png Programme To Acquire 1059 Infantry Mobility Vehicles In Nine Configurations [Planned Acquisition] [Candidates: JLTV and Sherpa]
  • 50+ Polaris DAGOR Tactical Vehicles [To be delivered in the mid-2020s]


Artillery And Multiple Rocket Launchers (Future Quantity: 26 SPMs, ~200 SPGs And 100+ MRLs)

Air Defence Systems (Future Quantity: 3 Batteries And A Significant Number Of Launchers)

  • 3 Patriot SAM Batteries [Delivery Ongoing] (Will supplement 4 Patriot Batteries in service with the Air Force)
  • Missing flag.png Programme To Acquire Short-To-Mid Range SAM Systems [Planned Acquisition] (To replace CA-95s, 9K33 Osas and 2K12 Kubs)

Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (Future Quantity: 18)

  • 18 Bayraktar TB2s [Will be delivered in the mid-to-late 2020s] (Will supplement 21 Watchkeeper X UCAVs in service with the Air Force)

Air Force - Forțele Aeriene Române

Fighter Aircraft (Future Quantity: 48)

  • 32 F-16As [Will be delivered from 2023 onwards] (Will supplement 17 F-16As already in service)
  • 48 F-35As [Planned Acquisition] (Will eventually replace the F-16As)


Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (Future Quantity: 21)

  • 21 Watchkeeper Xs [Will be delivered in the mid-to-late 2020s] (Will supplement 18 TB2 UCAVs in service with the Land Forces)

Air Defence Systems (Future Quantity: 4 Patriot Batteries And 8 HAWK Batteries)

  • 4 Patriot SAM Batteries [Delivery Ongoing] (Will supplement 3 Patriot Batteries in service with the Army)

Navy - Forțele Navale Române

Corvettes (Future Quantity: 4)

  • Missing flag.png Programme To Acquire 4 Corvettes [Planned Acquisition]

Missile Boats (Future Quantity: 3)

  • Mid-Life Update Of 3 Project 1241.RE 'Tarantul-I's With Naval Strike Missile AShMs, 3D Radars And A Combat Management System (CMS) [To be completed by the mid-to-late 2020s]

Submarines (Future Quantity: 2)

Minehunters (Future Quantity: ~7)


Coastal Defence Missile Systems (Future Quantity: 2 Batteries)

Helicopters (Future Quantity: 5)

Recommended Articles:
A 21st Century Powerhouse: Listing Poland’s Recent Arms Acquisitions