Romania plans to buy Patriot missile surface-to-air missile systems from U.S. company Raytheon to help protect its airspace, a senior Defense Ministry official said Thursday.
Being a NATO member, the purchase will be a key part of the European Union country’s plan to modernize its military, benefiting from a gradual increase in annual spending.
The defense budget in Romania was 1.7 percent of its GDP in 2016 and was set at 2.0 percent this year.
“The Patriot missile defense system is part of the multilevel air defense system of Romania’s airspace. We’re assessing all options to develop this [acquisition] program,” General Nicolae-Ionel Ciuca, chief of the General Staff, told reporters. “It is important to say the program will start this year.”
The missiles would be part of an integrated air defense system comprising six newly acquired F-16 fighter jets from Portugal.
“Romania has announced their intent to enhance their defensive capability by procuring Patriot,” a Raytheon spokesperson said. “Raytheon has a long-standing relationship with Romania and will work closely with the U.S. and Romanian governments to ensure this NATO partner achieves its defense objectives.”
The size of the planned acquisition and the budget for it are still unknown.