Romania will purchase 24 second-hand F-16 fighter jets to modernise its air force, following approval from the Supreme Defence Council (CSAT).

The Romanian Air Force will use the Lockheed F-16s to replace its aging Soviet-made MiG-21 Lancer aircraft.

Romania has been considering this purchase for a long time, but has had to delay its plan due to lack of funds.

As Romania does not have the necessary resources to buy new multirole combat aircraft, the CSAT has approved the Defence Ministry’s proposal to purchase 24 second-hand F-16 jets, the council said.

In 2008, the defence ministry said the acquisition of second-hand F-16 jets would provide Romania’s armed forces with greater inter-operability with other Nato states.

It was estimated at the time that the second-hand jets would cost a total of $800m, while purchasing 24 new ones would cost $3.5bn.