Forces: December 14, 2000

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: Romania is determined to achieve NATO membership and is structuring its Army to enhance its chances. The country is forming a Rapid Reaction Corps that will include three mechanized brigades, an armored brigade, one mountain brigade, and one airborne brigade along with artillery, engineer, air defense, and logistics units. The 2nd Mountain Brigade appears to be the elite unit of the corps. One of its battalions is on permanent standby for UN peacekeeping duty, and the entire brigade will be dedicated to this mission by 2003. About 15% of the 2nd Mountain Brigade speaks English, and English-language courses are taught to thousands of troops. Romania sends about 100 officers and senior sergeants to military schools in NATO countries at any given time; about 540 have completed these various training courses and are back on duty with their units. Romania asked for help from the US Marine Corps to establish a professional NCO corps, something few communist countries had in the Warsaw Pact era. The restructured Army will consist (by 2003) of the Rapid Reaction Corps, three Territorial Corps (essentially National Guard units), and three divisional headquarters. Operational peacetime units will include seven maneuver brigades, three support brigades, and two logistics brigades. Mobilization will include nine more combat maneuver brigades, five combat support brigades, and two logistics brigades. Peacetime strength will be 61,300 soldiers and 12,275 civilians. Some of the programs funded through 2003 include:

@ modernization of the TR-85M1 tank

@ modernization of the MLI-84 infantry fighting vehicles

@ upgrade of the 40-barrel 122mm multiple rocket launcher

@ acquisition of a towed 155mm (39 caliber) howitzer.

@ introduction of the Zimbru 8x8 wheeled armored personnel carrier.

@ modernization of the 100mm and 152mm ammunition.

@ acquisition of new towed 35mm and self-propelled 35mm anti-aircraft guns.--Stephen V Cole

 


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