Building Viper Brothers

The Romanian air force is preparing to receive its first F-16s next year by training with Alabama Air National Guard F-16 pilots and maintainers deployed to Romania for Exercise Dacian Viper this month. “This is the multi-role fighter that the United States military flies and knows best,” US ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm said during the exercise’s opening ceremony at Campia Turzii AB, Romania, Oct. 16. “We plan to teach you everything we know about this fighting platform so that when we deploy together … there is little to no difference between our capabilities,” he added. Romania purchased 12 surplus Block 25 mid-life upgraded F-16A/Bs from the US and Portugal in 2013, and announced its intent to acquire 12 additional aircraft earlier this year, Romania Insider reported. Six aircraft have already been refurbished, allowing Romanian aircrew to begin training in Portugal before the first jets are delivered in 2016. The Romanian air force is upgrading Fetesti Air Base in southeastern Romania to host the jets, which will replace the Mig-21. Alabama is paired with Romania through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program, and the 187th FW has been consistently involved in helping the Romanian air force stand up its F-16 capability. Dacian Viper runs through Oct. 30.