Romanian Air Force

Romanian Air Force

Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= Romanian Air Force
"Forţele Aeriene Române"

caption= The coat of arms and the identification flag
country= Romania
size= 13,250 personnel
225 aircraft
command_structure= Romanian Armed Forces
garrison= "Statul Major al Forţelor Aeriene" - Bucharest
garrison_label= Command HQ
commander1=Lieutenant General Constantin Croitoru
commander1_label=Chief of the General Air Staff
identification_symbol_label= Roundel
identification_symbol_2_label= Battle flag
aircraft_attack= MiG-21 LanceR 'B', IAR-330 SOCAT
aircraft_fighter= MiG-21 LanceR 'A'/'C'
aircraft_recon= Antonov An-30, RQ-7 Shadow
aircraft_trainer= IAR-99, L-39, IAR 316, Antonov An-2, Yak-52
aircraft_transport= C-130H, Alenia C-27J Spartan, IAR-330 Puma

The Romanian Air Force ( _ro. Forţele Aeriene Române) is the air force branch of the Romanian Armed Forces It has an air force headquarters, an operational command, four air bases and an air defense brigade. Reserve forces include two air bases and three airfields.

As part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, the Romanian Air Force currently controls the Kabul International Airport.

Around 2007, the Romanian Air Force employed 13,250 personnel.

Current state

The Romanian Air Force modernized 110 MiG 21 LanceRs, in cooperation with Israel between 1993 and 2002. Today, 48 of these MiG 21 LanceRs are operational [, [ "Bătălia giganţilor pentru aviaţia militară românească" ("Battle of giants for the Romanian Air Force")] , from Ziua, November 7, 2005] . The Romanian Air Force also operates C-130 Hercules, An-26s transport planes and IAR-330 Puma helicopters. IAR-330 PUMA SOCAT helicopters have been modernized by the Romanian Aviation Industry in cooperation with Elbit Systems (Israel) for attack missions. The Romanian Air Force also includes native-made IAR-99 Şoim jet planes, in general only used for training of the young pilots. The remaining MiG-29s have been removed from service in 2003.

Due to the old age of the MIGs, the Romanian Air Force will acquire 48 Eurofighter Typhoon, Saab 39 Gripen or F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters planes within 2010-2012. [ ro icon [ "SUA şi UE se intrec să ne doboare MiG-urile (Replacement of the MiG-21)] , from Cotidianul, January 2007] . Seven C-27J Spartan tactical airlift aircraft have been ordered for delivery, all of them will arrive until 2012"Spartan Order", "Aviation Week & Space Technology", December 11, 2006.]

The current chief of the Romanian Air Force Staff , since March 2007 (after the discharge of General Gheorghe Catrina [ ro icon [ "Şeful Forţelor Aeriene, generalul Catrina, trecut în rezervă"] , "The Air Force chief, General Catrina, discharged from active duty", "Gândul", March 13, 2007] ) is "General locotenent" Constantin Croitoru.



Romania was one of the first countries in the world to have an air force, starting with 1913. In 1912, the Romanian Air Force commissioned 10 Vlaicu I aircraft, built by Aurel Vlaicu in Bucharest.

World War I

During World War I, Romania acquired 322 aircraft from France and Great Britain including: Nieuport fighters (types 11, 12, 19, 21, 23, and 28), Farman reconnaissance and light bombing aircraft (types 40 and 46), and Breguet-Michelin heavy bombers. On September 16, 1916, a Romanian Farman-40 shot down a Luftwaffe aircraft near Slobozia; this was the first victory in the history of the Romanian Air Force. By the end of World War I, Romanian pilots had achieved about 11,000 hours of flight and fought 750 air battles.

Golden Age

During the interwar period, the RoAF, second only to Poland among the future Warsaw Pact countries, had a powerful national aircraft industry which designed and produced all types of military and most civil aircraft. In particular the IAR 80 series were stressed-skin fighters, worthy to rank with the other single-seat fighters of WWII, and used in significant numbers on the Eastern Front.

The RoAF was reorganized during an 18-year period. Over 2,000 military and civil aircraft were built in Romania, based on native or licensed designs. The military aviation used IAR 80 fighters, which became famous on the Eastern Front, and bombers manufactured by IAR Braşov. Messerschmitt Bf 109 and Heinkel He 112 fighters, Heinkel He 111 and Junkers Ju 88 bombers, Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber, Junkers Ju 52 transport and Heinkel He 114 seaplanes were purchased from Germany in the interwar period.

World War II

When Romania, allied with Nazi Germany, went to war against the USSR, on June 22, 1941, the Romanian Air Force had 621 airplanes, including its native made fighter IAR 80/81. The air force accomplished hundreds of missions, contributing to Romania's recapture of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia, which had been occupied by the Soviet Union a year earlier. Until the Odessa episode, the Romanian military fighters gained 661 air victories. Romanian Military Aviation fought on the Eastern front until August 22, 1944, bringing an important contribution to the great battles in Stalingrad, Crimea, and the Ukrainian fronts. Between 1941-1944 the Romanian airplanes won 2,000 air victories. The most famous flying aces were Captain Prince Constantin Cantacuzino, who gained 68 certified victories, Captain Horia Agarici and Captain Alexandru Şerbănescu, who shot down 60 enemy airplanes.

Cold War

Starting with 1948, Romania tailored its military to Soviet concepts and doctrine. On February 15, 1949, the Aviation Command was established based on the Soviet model (regiments instead of flotillas). New Soviet aircraft, such as Yakovlev Yak-18, Polikarpov Po-2, Lavochkin La-9, Tupolev Tu-2, and Ilyushin Il-10 entered service. A year later, 77 Yakovlev Yak-17s and Yakovlev Yak-23s entered the air force, and in 1952, other 88 aircraft: MiG-15 and MiG-15bis. In 1958, the first supersonic fighter MiG-19 entered the inventory. Three years later, in February 1962, a new fighter was added to the inventory, MiG-21, which represented one of the most effective fighters of that time.

Starting with 1974, Romanian-made aircraft supplemented the already existing jets. The Romanian IAR-93 subsonic aircraft flew its first flight on 31 October 1974. It represented a great step forward taking into account that it was the only jet fighter not made by the Soviets, the only one ever manufactured and operated by a Warsaw Pact country.

In 1962, the first helicopter subunits were established and followed later on, in 1965, by the first Soviet Mi-2 and Mi-4 helicopters. Renewing the aircraft fleet process went on, the first 12 MiG-23s entering the service between July-September 1979.

On 14 May 1981, at 20:16, Soviet spaceship Soyuz-40 was launched from Baikonur to perform a common Romanian-Soviet flight, with Lieutenant Dumitru Prunariu and Colonel Leonid Popov as commander on board. During the early 80's 67th Fighter-Bomber Regiment and 49th Fighter-Bomber Regiment from Craiova and Ianca were equipped with new IAR-93 attack aircraft which have replaced old MiG-15s and MiG-17s. In December 1989, just a few days before the Romanian revolution against communism began, MiG-29 aircraft had entered the Air Force inventory.

2007 Baltic Air Policing

Four MiG-21 LanceR Cs were deployed from August 2007 to November 2007 at Šiauliai, in Lithuania for Baltic Air Policing. The Romanian detachment succeeds the French Air Force Mirage 2000Cs of "Escadron de Chasse 01.012" from Cambrai, which fulfilled the Baltic Air Policing since May 2007. Once the RoAF finish its three-month stint, a Portuguese Air Force detachment will take over the mission. [Air Forces Monthly, November 2007 issue, p.36.]

The four aircraft and most of the staff come from the 71st Air Base. A total of 67 personnel, among them nine pilots, are part of the detachment: 63 serve at Šiauliai, while other four serve at the air traffic control centre in Kaunas, to ensure smooth cooperation with local authorities. The Romanian detachment has attracted huge attention from the local media, not least from the fact that it is only the second time a fighter from the Soviet era has deployed to Šiauliai - Polish Air Force MiG-29s have also been deployed here in 2006. The RoAF will perform again Baltic Air Policing most probably in three or four years. [Air Forces Monthly, November 2007 issue, p.37.]

2007 Romanian Air Force IAR-330 SOCAT crash

Three people were killed on November 7, 2007, when an IAR-330 Puma SOCAT attack helicopter belonging to the 90th Airlift Base crashed in Ungheni, near Piteşti, Argeş County. The aircraft was doing a night training mission at the moment of the crash. [ [ "Helicopter crashed near Pitesti killing three people aboard"] , Antena 3, November 7, 2007.]


Air Force Staff

The Romanian Air Force Staff represents the military concept-developing, command and executive structure providing Air Forces peacetime, crisis and wartime leadership in order to reach, maintain and increase, as required, the operational level of the military subordinated structures so that to be able to operate under authorized commands responsible for military operations planning and conduct.

Generate, mobilize, structure, equip, operationalize and regenerate the required forces, provide the logistic support necessary to conduct military operations and based on higher orders, take over both the Joint Operation Air Component and independent air operations command and control, through the Main Air Operational Center.

Air bases

The Romanian Air Force has 5 active air bases:

71st Air Base - Câmpia Turzii
*711th Fighter Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR A, B;
*712th Fighter Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR B, C;
*713th Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330L;
*714th Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330L (located at Timisoara Airport - former 93rd Air base);

86th Air Base - Feteşti -
*861st Fighter Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR B, C;
*862nd Fighter Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR A, B;
*863rd Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330L (located at Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport - former 57th Air Base);

95th Air Base - Bacău
*951st Fighter Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR A, B;
*952nd Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330L;
*205th Fighter Conversion Squadron - operating MiG-21 LanceR B;"'
*901st Strategic Transport Squadron - operating C-130 Hercules B,H;
*902nd Transport and Reconnaissance Squadron - operating An-26 and An-30;
*903rd Transport Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330L;
*904th Attack Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330 SOCAT;
*905th Attack Helicopter Squadron - operating IAR-330 SOCAT;

"'"Aurel Vlaicu" Flight School - Boboc
*201st School Squadron - operating Yakovlev Yak-52;
*202nd School Squadron - operating Antonov An-2;
*203rd School Squadron - operating IAR-99 Standard and L-39ZA;
*204th School Squadron - operating IAR-99 Soim;
*206th School Squadron - operating IAR-316B Alouette III;

Reserve air bases

*Constanţa - Mihail Kogălniceanu Airport - 57th Air Base
*Timişoara-Giarmata - 93rd Air Base

There are also 3 airfields included in the reserve forces.


*"'1st Surface to Air Missiles Brigade (Romania)
1st SAM Brigade "General Nicolae Dăscălescu"
- located near Bucharest;"'
*70th Aviation Engineer Regiment - Bucharest
*85th Signal Battalion - Curtea de Argeş

Capu Midia range

The Capu Midia training camp and surface to air firing range represents the Romanian Air Force structure specialized in providing the necessary facilities for firing training, execution and evaluation. It is located in Constanţa County, 20km north from the county capital, Constanţa.

Current inventory

! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Aircraft! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Origin! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Type! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Versions! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|In service [ [ Romanian military aviation OrBat] ]

! style="text-align: left; background: #aacccc;"|Notes
Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 Fishbed
MiG-21 LanceR
To be replaced by Saab 39 Gripen, Eurofighter Typhoon or F-16 Fighting Falcon within 2010-2012 [ro icon [ Romania replaces the MiG-21] , Antena 3, 16th May 2007]
Lockheed C-130 Hercules
3 C-130B (2 airworthy to be converted to C-130H) and 2 C-130H
Alenia C-27J Spartan
0 [ [ Romanian military aviation OrBat] ]
7 on order, all of them will be delivered until 2012
Antonov An-26 Curl
in service of the RoAF,1 for VIP and 3 cargo,they will be maintained in service until 2012 or more.
Boeing 707
used only for VIP flights
Antonov An-30 Clank
used for aerial cartography (for Treaty on Open Skies use), to be retired during 2008
Yakovlev Yak-52

IAR 99 'Şoim'
IAR-99 Şoim
10 IAR-99 Standard and 12 IAR-99C Şoim
Antonov An-2 Colt

a squadron still in service for paratrooper training
IAR 330 Puma
attack helicopter
23 (24 initially)
one crashed
IAR 316
training helicopter
only a Squadron remains operational with the training unit at Boboc
IAR 330 Puma
transport helicopter
IAR-330 Puma
RQ-7 Shadow
10 (11 initially)
one crashed
MIM-23 Hawk
surface to air missile
Hawk XXI
8 batteries

Aircraft markings

The Romanian roundel has the same colours like the Romanian flag. The innermost circle is blue, followed by yellow, and then red. It is placed on Romanian Armed Forces vehicles and Romanian Air Force aircraft.

Ranks and insignia

ee also

*Romanian Armed Forces




* Bernád, Dénes. "Romanian Aces of World War 2 (Aircraft of the Aces 54)". Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2003. ISBN 1-84176-535-X.
* Bernád, Dénes. "Romanian Air Force: The Prime Decade, 1938-1947". Carrollton, TX: Squadron/Signal Publications Inc, 1999. ISBN 0-89747-402-3.
* Crăciunoiu, Cristian and Roba, Jean-Louis. "Romanian Aeronautics in the Second World War, 1941-1945" (bilingual Romanian/English). Bucureşti, Romania: Editura Modelism International Ltd, 2003. ISBN 97-3810-118-2.

External links

* [ Official site of the Romanian Air Force]
* [ Official site of the Romanian Ministry of National Defense (MoND)]
* [ Order of Battle of the RoAF]

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