New Market Study Published: Romania Defence & Security Report Q4 2013

From: Fast Market Research, Inc.
Published: Wed Oct 09 2013

BMI's view is that Romania is caught between two conflicting strategic aspirations. On the one hand, the country has joined NATO and wishes to become an active member of the Alliance. Allied to this is its progressively improving relationship with the United States. On the other hand, a lack of funding has slowed defence modernisation, leaving much of its Cold War-era equipment and procedures in place.

To address the structure and equipment standard of its armed forces, the country has embarked upon an impressive modernisation initiative. This includes the procurement of new platforms such as new combat aircraft, vehicles and ships. Yet available funding to procure such items has been lacking, and it remains unclear as to when this situation could rectify itself in the future.

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A major programme to acquire a new Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MRCA) is symptomatic of this trend. Romania had been viewed as a strong prospect for several MRCA manufacturers around the world as it emerged from its years of Cold War isolation. This was because the air force was still operating old, bordering on obsolete, fighter bombers. Not only were such aircraft below NATO standards for participating in multinational operations, there were also judged to be unsuitable for defending Romanian airspace. Finally, given the age of the aircraft, there is every chance that they may simply become too dangerous to fly in the future. However, for all intents and purposes, the acquisition of these aircraft has now been postponed for the foreseeable future. Although the aircraft are required, they are simply not seen as a major priority for the Romanian government at a time of financial hardship.

The country does possess a capable defence industry, which has won it customers from abroad. Notably, Romania has solid expertise in the military aerospace world, and also in the manufacture of armoured vehicles. This could place it in a strong position to act as a reliable partner for large-scale prime contractors seeking to diversify their supplier base.

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