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Romania to buy drones from Turkey’s Baykar: report

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Romania plans to buy three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) systems that include 18 drones from Turkish defense firm Baykar along with logistics support for an estimated $300 million, Reuters reported, citing the Romanian defense ministry on Thursday.

The ministry said it has requested approval from the Romanian parliament to begin the process to acquire 18 Bayraktar TB2 drones destined for its ground forces as part of the country’s NATO targets and its military plans.

“The acquisition for which approval has been requested will be initiated from 2022, depending … on funding possibilities,” the ministry said in a statement.

Romania, a NATO member since 2004, plans to raise defense spending to 2.5 percent of gross domestic product next year from 2 percent at present, President Klaus Iohannis said in March, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The country, which shares a 650-kilometer (400 mile) border with Ukraine, is host to a US ballistic missile defense system and, as of this year, has a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory.

Earlier this year, Romania’s government approved a bill to buy 32 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Norway.

French firm Naval Group and Romanian company Santierul Naval Constanta have yet to finalize a deal to sell Gowind navy corvettes to Romania as well as renovate two existing frigates for a total of 1.2 billion euros, with a decision potentially seen in September.

The country’s biggest procurement contract to date has been a multi-year, 4-billion-euro US Raytheon Patriot surface-to-air missile system, with the first shipment delivered in 2020.

The TB2 armed drones have been hugely popular in Ukraine, where they helped destroy Russian artillery systems and armored vehicles. The TB2, which has also been used in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, now spearheads Turkey’s global defense export push.

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