Romania has been equipped with Patriot surface-to-air defense missiles.
Romania received on Thursday its first Patriot surface-to-air missile system, manufactured by the United States, one of the best defense systems in the world, identical with the one used by the US army. This is the first important piece of equipment purchased and delivered after Romania signed, in 2015, a national political accord on increasing financing for defense, Nicolae Ciuca, the Romanian Defense Minister, has explained. He has also said that the system has the most modern software and hardware configuration, which allows counteracting all types of air threats. “The set-up of the first Patriot system is only a first step towards building a fantastic air defense capability for our country, which will significantly contribute to consolidating deterrence and the defense of NATO on its eastern flank,” Minister Ciuca said. Romania is thus the 17thcountry in the world and the 7th NATO country equipped with this missile system.
Attending the unveiling ceremony at the Cape Midia military base near the Black Sea port of Constanta, PM Ludovic Orban said: "Romania has decided to observe its commitment to allot 2% of its GDP to defense, for the army's procurement programme. Part of this programme, the Patriot missile system is extremely important. Romania has just become a safer nation by hosting these Patriot missiles on its territory. Romanian citizens are now better protected." The Romanian official made a firm commitment to joining NATO and the EU and to signing a strategic partnership with the US. We are a loyal partner that respects all its commitments within these alliances and partnerships, the PM also said.
In his turn, the interim speaker of the Senate, Robert Cazanciuc, said Thursday was a special day for the army and for the history of Romania. He reminded how the Romanians used to look towards the horizon of history, waiting for the Americans to come and free them from Soviet influence. We are members of a privileged generation, a generation that helped fulfil a dream and made Romania a country which shares democratic values and human rights, Cazanciuc said.
In his turn, the US Ambassador in Bucharest, Adrian Zuckerman said that "by welcoming the delivery of the Patriot hardware, Romania solidifies its place as a guarantor of European and Black Sea security." "We are witnessing the dawn of a new era in which Romania can credibly defend itself and the NATO Alliance against ballistic missile threats to soil and citizens," the American official concluded.
The Romanian military will next take part in a training programme, assisted by their American partners. Another three Patriot missile systems will be delivered to Romania in 2022. (Translated by Elena Enache)