01:13 GMT +319 August 2017
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    A US Patriot anti-missile battery is set up at a base in Jaffa, south of Tel Aviv, file photo

    Romania Buy Could Mean More Patriot Missile Defense Systems in Eastern Europe

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    The US government has fielded a request from Bucharest to buy Patriot air-and-missile defense systems.

    Raytheon, the company that manufacturers Patriots, confirmed the request, saying in a statement, "Romania has announced their intent to enhance their defensive capability by procuring Patriot … Raytheon has a longstanding relationship with Romania, and will work closely with the US and Romanian governments to ensure this NATO partner achieves its defense objectives." 

    If acquired, the Patriots would join newly purchased F-16 fighter jets in Romania’s integrated air systems. These acquisitions could help Bucharest meet the 2 percent GDP expenditure on defense, a standard set by NATO that Romania fell short of in 2016 with only 1.7 percent

    Chief of General Staff General Nicolae Ionel Ciuca told reporters Thursday that, "The Patriot missile defense system is part of the multi-level air defense system of Romania's airspace. We're assessing all options to develop this (acquisition) program … It is important to say the program will start this year."

    A NATO member state since 2004, Romania houses the Aegis Ashore missile defense radar, a critical tool first made operational in 2015 with the stated purpose of detecting missile threats from Iran. 

    Poland is currently trying to secure eight Patriot systems of their own, in a deal with Raytheon and Polish industries worth close to $7.6 million, making it one of five NATO members and one of 13 countries to acquire Patriots. In May 2016, US and Polish officials broke ground in Redzikowo on the site of Poland’s own Aegis Ashore system, which is expected to be and up and running by 2018.

    At the time, US Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work called the new system a "strategic inflection point and a change in the strategic landscape," explaining that a more complex defense landscape will necessitate a "more capable NATO alliance, one that continues to evolve and adapt to threats."

    Raytheon describes the Patriot system as a "long-range, high altitude, all-weather solution that has been rigorously tested more than 2,500 times with US Army oversight under real-world conditions. It can counter threats from tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, drones and advanced aircraft."

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    Tags:
    missile defense systems, Patriot missile, Raytheon, Romania
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