Romania has opted to extend its force modernization period rather than cut important purchases as it deals with its version of the global budget crisis. Despite suffering from the severe economic downturn that began more than five years ago, the Black Sea country continues to upgrade its military with the goal of being a significant security force in an uncertain region.
The country’s efforts are part of a long-term plan that began with its application for, and acceptance of, membership in NATO. The first part of the three-phase modernization program concluded in 2007, the year before the global economic crisis.
The global financial slump affected Romania’s defense budget significantly, allows Maj. Gen. Catalin Moraru, RMAF, deputy chief of the Armament Department. However, the country viewed its modernization efforts as essential for its military, especially as a member of NATO. So, instead of implementing cuts as many other nations have done, Romania has delayed some of its programs.
Romania currently has 85 active military acquisition programs. They range from large programs such as fighter aircraft and a new air defense system to small programs with lesser impact, the general explains. About 15 to 20 programs have finished delivery, but they are still ongoing because of upgrades and maintenance improvements. Another 20 programs have pending contracts, and the remaining 45 to 50 programs are ready to start but are among those delayed for financial reasons.
Some acquisition programs have been postponed for as long as three to five years, the general notes. He allows that, in the future, some acquisition programs may need to be scaled back. But for now, postponement rather than cancellation is the method of economizing adopted by the Romanian military.