Romania is one of the few NATO nations on track to meet its expressed obligation to invest at least two percent of its gross domestic product in national security. Coupling with new programs for enhancement of air, land, and naval forces commenced, this year’s Black Sea Defense & Aerospace (BSDA) Exhibition and Conference brought enhanced international—and particularly US—industry interest.
According to U.S. Ambassador to Romania Hans Klemm, who hosted a May 17 reception at the U.S. Embassy here, American industry played a leading role in this year’s event, with fifty U.S. companies—a 100% increase over the show’s 2016 iteration—among the total 275 companies from 24 nations exhibiting here. U.S. industry participation is second only to host Romania.
As noted here, a central focus of Romania’s efforts to modernize and upgrade its military forces is the procurement and fielding of new multi-purpose corvettes to boost Romania’s presence in the Black Sea. Four shipbuilding consortia—Dutch group Damen Shipyards, French Naval Group, German group ThyssenKrup Marine Systems and Italian group Fincatieri—advanced their concepts.
Additional vendors of prominence at BSDA and their associated products included:
- Airbus touted its range of commercial and military helicopters, including the H-145M and H-215M
- Bell (Helicopter) featured the company’s venerable UH-1Y VENOM and AH-1Z VIPER Cobra attack helicopters and an impressive, related H-1 Virtual Reality Experience (simulator).
- Boeing did not have an exhibit,but there were two AH-64 Apache aircraft on static runway display.
- Elbit Systems, which has enjoyed considerable long-term success in Romania, featured its EW and SIGINT solutions, its night vision googles and thermal weapon sights, its C5ISR solutions, as well as its Hermes 90, 450, and 900 unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
- European missile maker MBDA featured its MISTRAL, MICA, and EXOCET-based missiles and highlighted its long-term cooperation with Romania and Romanian industry.
- General Dynamics European Land Combat Systems (ELCS) featured their PIRANHA 8×8 light armored vehicle (LAV), of which Romania is now buying ten.
- Lockheed Martin Corporation, which is selling dozens of F-16 fighters to the Romanian Air Force, (two static displays were on the runway) had a presence featuring its C-130 airlifter, SNIPER Pod, and its Hellfire II, JASSM, and SCAPEL missiles.
- Raytheon’s booth was headlined by its Patriot air defense missile system, which was recently sold to Romania under a $3.9 billion deal. Also featured was Raytheon’s Air and Missile Defense Radar (AMDR) as well as the company other missile systems, including the AIM-9X, AMRAAM ER, Naval Strike Missile, JAVELIN, STINGER, and TOW.