Romania grants $321M contract to buy Turkish TB2 combat drones
Romania’s Ministry of National Defense has granted a contract worth $321 million to Turkish drone magnate Baykar, to purchase Bayraktar TB2 unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), according to the recently published official document.
The official contract award notice was published on the Tenders Electronic Daily website, an online version of the Supplement to the Official Journal of the European Union.
Haluk Bayraktar, general manager at Baykar also confirmed the contract, saying that Romania, “which has long-standing friendship and strong ties based on mutual trust,” has joined the list of countries that have taken the high-tech Bayraktar TB2 UCAV into its inventory.
He said with this latest purchase, the number of countries signing export contracts for Bayraktar TB2s have reached 28.
“As Baykar, we are proud of exporting to 2 EU member countries and 3 NATO member countries together with Romania,” Bayraktar’s tweet read.
In August last year, local media reported the Romanian ministry’s aim of procuring three drone packages at around $300 million, after it gained popularity for causing loss to the Russian military gear in the war in Ukraine, pending approval from parliament.
“The UAS (unmanned aerial system) systems to be purchased will be intended for the Romanian Land Forces. Each system includes six aerial platforms with target engagement capabilities (a total of 18 drones). The program also involves the purchase of an initial logistical support package, necessary training and equipment,” the ministry said in a statement at the time.
The price of Bayraktar TB2 drones varies depending on the equipment, starting from $1 million to $5 million, according to open sources specializing in defense products.
The Bayraktar TB2 has a reputation as being the best in its class in the world based on its technical features and the operations it has been used in, entering the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) in 2014.
These UCAVs proved effective on the battlefield after they were used by the Turkish army in Syria against Russia-backed regime forces and by Azerbaijan in recapturing its territories from occupying Armenian forces in Karabakh.
They are currently actively used by the Ukrainian army for defense purposes in the ongoing war with Russia, playing an important role in destroying Russian military gear from howitzers and tanks to air defense systems and marine platforms.
Currently, Romania does not have state-of-the-art combat drones in its inventory.
After receiving them, Romania will be the second European Union nation, following Poland, to utilize TB2s and the third European NATO member state to acquire these drones, aside from Türkiye.
Planning to boost its defense budget to 2.5% of its gross national product (GDP) in 2023, Romania looks to transform its army with new military equipment and weapon systems.