Safer skies: Romania's fourth Patriot missile air defence battery goes into service

Romania has announced the fourth of its patriot missile batteries is operating, giving a major boost to national security while enhancing the defence of NATO’s south-eastern flank.

Hundreds of Romanian soldiers have been trained in the US on the system and a dedicated unit has been established within the Romanian army.

"One of the special features of this system is that it has an anti-ballistic capability which Romania and the Romanian Army never had until the arrival of the Patriot system,” Lieutenant Colonel Cezar Dedu from of Romania’s Patriot Missile Regiment said.

“It's very complex, it's based on a lot of digital technology, a lot of information, the radars are very powerful and that's why the targets are very easy to hit.”

Lieutenant Colonel Cezar Dedu, Romanian Army - Euronews

Romania’s Minister of Defence Angel Tîlvăr visited the Patriot base in February 2023.

He said: “the four systems constitute the first stage of achieving a state-of-the-art ground-based air defence capability, with battle-tested tactical ballistic missile and cruise missile defence capabilities, fully integrated into the NATO system."

According to the US State department, Romania signed an agreement for seven PATRIOT batteries in a contract worth $3.9 billion in 2017 with the contract awarded to American manufacturers Raytheon and Lockheed-Martin a year later.

The American government says the United States has approximately $6.2 billion in active defence sales to Romania including coastal defence systems, F-16 related equipment, the Patriots and HIMARS.

The US State Department website states: “Romania plays an important role in NATO air defence. Mihail Kogălniceanu airport is a major transit hub near the Black Sea, and the United States is currently upgrading Campia Turzii to bolster U.S. and NATO air capabilities. In addition to serving U.S. and NATO militaries, these two major airbases are needed to serve the F-16s Romania recently acquired from Norway."