With the approval of The Romanian Parliament for the procurement of 32 former Luftforsvaret (RNoAF, Royal Norwegian Air Force) F16AM/BM Fighting Falcons for use with the Fortele Aeriene ale Romanei (FAR, Romanian Air Force) the end for the ageing MiG-21s is unfortenately in sight.
The MiG-21s entered service with the FAR in the 1960s, however it is not known how many MiGs were exactly delivered.
It is known that between 1997 and 2002 a total of 111 aircraft were equipped with NATO-compatible systems, these were called MiG-21 LanceR. There are three models, LanceR A for ground attack, LanceR B is the two-seat trainer version and LanceR C is the air superiority version.
The LanceR A version has already been withdrawn from use leaving around ten LanceR B and twenty LanceR C operational at this moment. These MiGs are operated by Escadrilla 861 Aviatie Lupta at Baza 86 Aeriana Constanta/Mihail Kogalniceanu and Escadrilla 711 Aviatie Lupta at Baza 71 Aeriana Campia Turzii.
Major General Viorel Pana, the Chief of Staff of the Romanian Air Force said: “At the end of 2024 Romania will have three fully equipped F-16 squadrons. First the F-16s have to be adapted to Romanian standards like the secure communication systems, Identification Friend of Foe (IFF) systems and the Carpathian Ghost color scheme”.
At the end of 2023 the FAR will have its second F-16 squadron operational followed by the third squadron at the end of 2024. At this moment Escadrilla 53 Vanatoare Warhawks is the only operational squadron with seventeen F-16s operating from Baza 86 Aeriană at Borcea/Fetesti.
Photo by René Sleegers