BUCHAREST, April 20 (Xinhua) -- Romania will start this year the procedures for the acquisition of Patriot missiles, Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) and 8x8 armoured fighting vehicles, announced Florin Lazar Vladica, State Secretary of Defence Ministry and General Nicolae Ciuca, Chief of General Staff.
"We hope to have a fast response for Patriot missiles and HIMARS systems. Soon we will make a decision and for the first 94 armored 8x8 this year," said Florin Lazar Vladica in Galati, eastern Romania.
Romania is one of the few countries in European Union to announce that it will increase military expenditure in 2017, with a defence budget settled at 2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), up from 1.7 percent in 2016.
According to Ciuca, the Patriot missile defence system is needed to complete the multi-level air defence system of Romania's airspace, program started with the acquisition of F-16 fighter jet.
"We evaluate all options to develop this program," added the chief of Major General Staff.
Romania received six F-16 Fighting Falcons fighter jets from Portugal last October, half of the aircraft fleet bought in a deal sealed in 2013. The deal was reportedly worth around 628 million euros (673.2 million U.S. dollars) and it was meant to upgrade Romania's air forces to NATO standards and to replace its outdated fleet of MiG 21 Soviet fighter jets.