Romania’s National Defense Ministry (MApN) has sent a request to the United States government showing its interest in buying Patriot missiles, the ministry announced, quoted by Mediafax. The purchasing procedures could start this year, according to MApN State Secretary Florin Vlădică.
He made the announcement during a press conference occasioned by tactical military exercises taking place near Galati, in Eastern Romania. A welcome ceremony was also organized for the first rotational group of U.S. troops that are part of the U.S. European Reassurance Initiative (ERI).
The Patriot missiles are a long-range, all-altitude, air defense system designed to intercept other missiles. The US Army ones cost some USD 3 million, according to the Washington Post, which describes them as “among the most sophisticated, not to mention costliest, surface-to-air defense weapons in the world.” They are capable of flying five times the speed of sound, are five-meter long, and weigh 700 pounds.
Thirteen countries own Patriot missiles: U.S., The Netherlands, Germany, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Taiwan, Greece, Qatar, Spain, South Korea, and the United Arab Emirates.
The components of the Patriot system are inter-operable, allowing NATO member countries to collaborate in assembling a defense system that could be installed in a remote region.
A Patriot system is made of four elements: the radar system, the command center and the electricity generator, the communications tower and the rocket launchers installed on trucks. The manufacturer guarantees that a truck can be equipped with up to 16 launchers but the U.S. Army uses five to eight launchers per battery, according to Mediafax. Each launcher is equipped with four rockets, the latest, Pac-3 version having the capacity of supporting even 16 rockets. The launchers can be stationed and coordinated from up to one kilometer away from the control center.
The Patriot missiles are developed and manufactured by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon.
Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, the commander of U.S. army troops in Europe told News.ro that Romania needs to continue its defense modernization efforts, especially concerning equipment, which dates back to the Warsaw Pact.
This year, Romania has increased the defense budget from 1.5% of the GDP to 2% of the GDP.
(Photo source: Wikipedia)