May 5, 2015
Portugal deploys F-16s to Romania
The aircraft of Squadron 201 'Falcões' and Squadron 301 'Jaguares' from Monte Real airbase No. 5 will be stationed in Romania until 30 June as part of 'Falcon Defence 2015' unitary concept training mission. This is intended as a reassurance measure for the alliance's eastern members and also to meet specific NATO interoperability and standardisation requirements.
The deployment follows closely behind the 1 September and 31 December 2014 deployment of six Portuguese F-16AM aircraft to Siauliai airbase in Lithuania for NATO's Baltic Air Policing mission.
From September 2016 to late 2017, 12 Portuguese F-16s (nine single-seat F-16AM and three twin-seat F-16BM aircraft) will be transferred to the Romanian Air Force as part of a deal sealed by both countries in 2013. The aircraft will progressively replace the ageing MiG-21 LanceR fighters currently fielded by Romania.
Portugal will keep 39 aircraft in its inventory including the three F-16A Block 15s granted by the United States as excess defence articles and now being modernised by OGMA-Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal.