Romania awards $321 million contract for Turkish TB2 combat drones

A Turkish Bayraktar TB2 combat drone is on view during a presentation at the Lithuanian Air Force base in Siauliai, Lithuania, on July 6, 2022. (Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images)

The Romanian Ministry of National Defense has awarded the Turkish defense firm Baykar a $321 million contract for the purchase of TB2 unmanned aerial vehicles, according to recently published documents.

The move comes after the the Romanian MoD announced its intention last August to procure three TB2 drone packages from Baykar Makina for approximately $300 million, pending the approval from parliament.

“The UAS systems to be purchased will be intended for the Romanian Land Forces. Each system includes six aerial platforms with target engagement capabilities (a total of 18 drones). The program also involves the purchase of an initial logistical support package, necessary training and equipment,” the ministry said in a statement at the time.

This week, the Tenders Electronic Daily website, an online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union focused on public procurement projects, published the official contract award notice to the Turkish manufacturer for the production of these systems.

The drones are to be delivered to Timisoara, where the Romanian Air Force used to operate the 93rd Air Base that housed MiG-23s before they were retired. Once received, Romania will become the second EU country after Poland to operate TB2s and the third European NATO member to order them beyond Turkey.

These acquisitions are to contribute to the ambitions laid out as part of the transformation of the Romanian Army until 2040, which seeks to provide forces with new military equipment and weapon systems that ensure flexibility, expanded situational awareness and increased firepower.

Romania intends to increase its defense budget to 2,5% of GDP in 2023, Bloomberg reported. Last year, the country allocated roughly $6 billion for defense spending.

Earlier this month, a statement issued on the website of Romanian President Klaus Iohannis said that Bucharest was also looking at buying F-35s in efforts to modernize its air force.

Source:  Defense News