F-16 is the plane Romania wants to buy. This news about the purchases of F-16 for the Romanian Air Force is not surprising. Apparently the officials of the Ministry of National Defense are taking into consideration the possibility of purchasing 12 F-16 airplanes. Thus, old disputes will be re-ignited, talk-shows and “experts” who know it all will have yet another subject to talk about – the F-16. It remains to be seen from where the F-16 planes will be bought and if they will be new, second or third-hand. The most important aspect, in my opinion, is for the Ministry of Defense to purchase these F-16 fighters and to modernize the F-16. This way, at least, Romania will have an Air Force, as the Mig-21s Lancer will be retired in 2018. Or so they say! The press has been quite full of opinions in favor or against F-16. Personally, I don’t think F-16 is such a bad idea. The reason is the following: in order to defend its airspace, Romania needs 4-5 squadrons. A squadron in the Romanian Air Force consists of 12 fighters. In this case F-16, resulting thus a necessary of 60 F-16 fighters. 60 brand new F-16 need weapons and munition, training the operational personnel and modernizing the air bases. And this endeavor would cost our country lots and lots of money. Money that Romania does not have at the moment.
Then, there are those who wish Romania would buy fighters like the Rafale, Gripen or Eurofighter. Yes, I know, they are good and, moreover, new. But they are very expensive and also have a few unresolved problems. But the most important argument against them is not necessarily this fact but that the F-16 fighter is a plane that we know what it is capable of. I wouldn’t venture to say the same about the previous 3 fighters. What if Hungary and the Czech Republic have each 14 Gripens? They are indeed new. But if we think harder we will realize that in the new regional context involving our “friendly neighbor from the East” those 14 Gripen will not make a difference. In an armed conflict the anti-aircraft is the first defense line and if it is a poor one, the rest of the defense lines are certainly doomed. Maybe you will remind me of the offset that was an “extraordinary” failure from our government (well detailed by the press). The problem is that we cannot really afford to think about what it could have been. The pressing matter is to do something in order not be caught by surprise. Especially now, when significant conquerors’ tendencies are manifested not very far from our country. Tendencies that never “left” our “friendly neighbors” in the past 200 years (Europe has been too dully asleep too notice). History has taught us, countless times, that alliances are the first to break in case of a conflict. At present, Romania is in a similar situation as in the beginning of the Second World War. Our country has allies, but they are pretty far away and if we take a good look around us we will see a Hungary that still dreams of the Great Hungarian Medieval Kingdom and defends a Russia who changes borders with its tanks. Also Serbia that still looks up to its “Big Brother”. Bulgaria, although a NATO member, cannot really give us a helping hand. Turkey ruled by our nowadays “sultan”, Regep Erdogan. The Black Sea, dominated by the Russians. Our only trustworthy neighbors, although I never thought I would say this, seem to be the Ukrainians. They received a good shake from fate and a wake up call from their slumber about one year ago. But for these we are pretty lonely and in need of a new fighter. Even if it’s a second hand F-16.