October 7, 2016 / 11:47 AM / 3 years ago

Romania receives first F16 jets to replace obsolete MiGs

Romania's Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos looks at a scale model of a F-16 Fighting Falcon airplane at 86th Air Base of Romanian Air Force during the official presentation ceremony of 6 F-16 planes bought by the Romanian government, in Fetesti, Calarasi county, Romania October 7, 2016. Inquam Photos/Octav Ganea/via REUTERS

BORCEA, Romania (Reuters) - Romania received its first six F-16 fighter jets from Portugal on Friday, as it works to bring its obsolete forces up to NATO standards and phases out its outdated communist-era MiGs.

The F-16 Fighting Falcons are part of a batch of 12 units supplied by Portuguese Air Force to Romania, a staunch Washington ally and NATO member since 2004, and a participant in military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“This acquisition of a first batch of high-performance multirole planes represents a major investment supporting an increase in our country’s defense capability,” Prime Minister Dacian Ciolos said at the 86th Air Base Lieutenant Aviator Gheorghe Mociornita, near the Danube river.

Portugal will supply three more jets by the end of the year and the rest in 2017.

Reporting by Radu Marinas and Sinisa Dragin; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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