Saab ‘surprise’ at Romania fighter decision

Saab 'surprise' at Romania fighter decision
Swedish defence firm Saab has asked for all the facts to be laid open after the Romanian government chose to purchase second-hand US F-16s to the detriment of its Gripen fighter.

“We are surprised at the statement indicating that the Supreme Defence Council is pursuing the old F-16s, without any offset, due to lack of financial resources,”, said Richard Smith, Saab’s marketing director for Romania.

“Unfortunately, the Romanian armed force may end up with someone else’s junk.”

The Supreme Council announced on Wednesday it would submit to parliament its decision to purchase 24 F-16 aircraft currently used by the US air force.

Bucharest is also considering buying 24 new F-16 and, at a later stage, acquiring 24 F-35 jets, the defence ministry said, stressing this was part of the Romanian-US “strategic partnership.”

But Saab said the ministry should “present to parliament all the offers that have been submitted, so that all the facts are available for discussion.”

The Swedish group also argued its offer was “better by far, from the economic perspective, due to…. the generous 100 percent offset.”

“We are guaranteeing offset which will bring investments and create tens of thousands of new jobs. The US is promising nothing. In a period of economic crisis, this is simply outrageous.”

Romania has long mulled the purchase of fighter planes to replace its ageing, Soviet-made MiG-21 Lancer aircraft, but has delayed the decision due to lack of funds.

The F-16 (Lockheed Martin) were competing with the Gripen jets, the Eurofighters (EADS, BAE Systems and Alenia/Finmeccanica) and the French-made Rafales (Dassault).

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