BUCHAREST, June 19 (Reuters) - Romania's leftist government has approved a plan to buy second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Portugal to bring its air force up to NATO standards, it said on Wednesday.
The European Union member joined NATO in 2004 and has been Washington's military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is in the process of phasing out its outdated Soviet-made MiG-21s.
The defence ministry will buy 12 jets from Portugal and pay a little over 600 million euros, including maintenance, in installments until 2017.
Romania shelved a multi-billion euro plan to buy fighter jets in 2009 as its economy plunged into deep recession and the global financial crisis forced it to resort to international aid.