2,187 (total)[1]

 Afghanistan - 1,821 Expenditures Budget €4 billion (FY2018)[3] Percent of GDP 2% (FY2018) Industry Domestic suppliers ROMARM
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 North Korea Annual exports €177,000,000 (2014)[4] Related articles History Military history of Romania Ranks Romanian Armed Forces ranks and insignia

The Land Forces, Air Force and Naval Forces of Romania are collectively known as the Romanian Armed Forces (Romanian: Forțele Armate Române or Armata Română). The current Commander-in-chief is General Nicolae Ionel Ciuca who is managed by the Minister of National Defence while the president is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces during wartime.

Of the 90,000 military and civilian personnel, 60,000 are the active troops (forțele active) while 30,000 comprise the active territorial reserves (forțele teritoriale).[5] As of 2010, the Land Forces have a reported strength of 43,000, the Air Force 9,700, the Naval Forces 7,150, and Joint Forces 13,500.[6] As per the 2011 White Paper, these forces are to be gradually decreased over the 2011–2014 period to reach a total of about 65,000 active troops and active reserves.[citation needed] Total defence spending currently accounts for 2% of total national GDP, which represents approximately 3.65 billion euros (ranked 54th).[7]

History of the Romanian Armed Forces

The first attempt to create an independent Romanian army was made by Gheorghe Magheru during the 1848 Wallachian Revolution, and it was based at Râureni (now part of Râmnicu Vâlcea). However, Magheru rapidly ordered his troops to disband when the Ottoman forces swept into Bucharest to stop the revolution.[8]

Romanian War of Independence

Romanian troops returning to Bucharest after the war, 8 October 1878.

The current Romanian Land Forces were formed in 1859, immediately after the unification of Wallachia with Moldavia, and were commanded by Alexandru Ioan Cuza, Domnitor of Romania until his abdication in 1866. In 1877, at the request of Nikolai Konstantinovich, Grand Duke of Russia[9] the Romanian army fused with the Russian forces, and led by King Carol I, fought in what was to become the Romanian War of Independence. They participated in the Siege of Plevna and several other battles. The Romanians won the war, but suffered about 27,000 casualties. Until World War I, the Romanian army didn't face any other serious actions.

Second Balkan War

Romania mobilized its army on 5 July 1913, with intention of seizing Southern Dobruja, and declared war on Bulgaria on 10 July. [10]In a diplomatic circular that said, "Romania does not intend either to subjugate the polity nor defeat the army of Bulgaria", the Romanian government endeavoured to allay international concerns about its motives and about increased bloodshed.[10] According to Richard Hall, "the entrance of Romania into the conflict made the Bulgarian situation untenable and the Romanian thrust across the Danube was the decisive military act of the Second Balkan War."[11]

World War I

On July 6, 1916, Romania declared war on Germany and Austria-Hungary, following the initial success of the Brusilov Offensive (a major Russian offensive against the armies of the Central Powers on the Eastern Front). The Romanian armies entered Transylvania (then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), together with Russian forces. However, German forces under the command of General Erich von Falkenhayn stalled the attack in November, 1916, and drove back the Romanians. At the same time, Austrian and Turkish troops invaded southern Romania, forcing the country into a two-front war. The Central Powers drove deep into Romania and conquered the south of the country (Wallachia, including Bucharest) by the end of 1916. The Romanian forces, led by Marshal Constantin Prezan, retreated into the north-east part of Romania (Moldavia). In the summer of 1917 however, Prezan, aided by the future Marshal, General Ion Antonescu, successfully defended the remaining unoccupied territories against German and Austro-Hungarian forces led by Field Marshal August von Mackensen.[12] General Alexandru Averescu led the Second Army in the victories of the Battle of Mărăşti (July 22 to August 1, 1917) and the Battle of Mărăşeşti (August 6 to September 8, 1917). As a result of the Russian Revolution, Romania was left isolated and unable to continue the war, and was forced to sign the Treaty of Bucharest with the Central Powers.[13] Later on, in 1919, Germany agreed, in the Treaty of Versailles Article 259, to renounce all the benefits provided to it by the Treaty of Bucharest in 1918. After the successful offensive on the Thessaloniki front, which put Bulgaria out of the war, Romania re-entered the war on November 10, 1918, a day before its end in the West.[14]

World War II

Romanian infantry in 1943

After General (later Marshal) Ion Antonescu took power in September 1940, Romania signed the Tripartite Pact with the Axis Powers and subsequently took part in Operation Barbarossa in 1941. An expeditionary force invaded the Soviet Union in Bessarabia and southern Ukraine, alongside the German Wehrmacht. The expeditionary force, 'Army Group Antonescu,' was composed on 22 June 1941 of the 3rd Army, the 4th Army, the 2nd Army Corps, and the 11th Infantry Division.[15] The 3rd Army comprised the 4th Army Corps (6th and 7th Infantry Divisions), the Cavalry Corps, the Mountain Corps, two separate artillery battalion, a TA unit, and the Air Force's 3rd Army Cooperation Command. The 4th Army consisted of the 3rd Army Corps, the 5th Army Corps, the 11th Army Corps (two fortress brigades), and the 4th Army Cooperation Command. The army group-level 2nd Army Corps, under Major General N. Macici, controlled the 9th and 10th Infantry Divisions and the 7th Cavalry Brigade. Additionally the 1st Armoured Division was formed for service on the Eastern Front. The Army Group's first offensive, in conjunction with the Eleventh Army, Operation Munchen, enabled Romania to retake the territory immediately east of the Dnister, former part of Moldavia. The Romanian Armies saw their first major battles at Odessa and Sevastopol, and in 1942 advanced with other Axis forces deeper into Soviet territory during Operation Blue.

The greatest disaster for the Romanian expeditionary force on the Eastern Front came at Stalingrad, where, during the Soviet counter-offensive of November 1942, the thinly spread forces of the Third Army (deployed north of Stalingrad) and of the Fourth Army (deployed south of Stalingrad) were attacked by vastly superior Soviet forces and suffered combined losses of some 158,000 personnel.

During April–May 1944 the Romanian forces led by General Mihai Racoviţǎ, together with elements of the German Eighth Army were responsible for defending Northern Romania during the Soviet First Jassy-Kishinev Offensive, and took part in the Battles of Târgu Frumos. In late August 1944, the Red Army entered eastern Romania. On August 23, 1944, a coup led by King Michael I of Romania deposed Marshal Antonescu and set up a pro-Soviet government. It has been estimated that the royal coup shortened the war by six months.[16] Romania soon declared war on Nazi Germany, and the First and Fourth Armies were pressed into action. After the expelling of the last Wehrmacht remnants from Romania, the Romanian Armies took part in the Siege of Budapest and the Prague Offensive of May 1945.


The Land Forces have overhauled their equipment in recent years, and are today a modern army with multiple NATO capabilities. They are participating in a peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, together with the other NATO countries. The Land Forces are at present planning on replacing the TAB APC vehicles with new armored personnel carriers produced in conjunction with the Germany company Rheinmetall.[17] The Air Force currently operates modernized Soviet MiG-21 LanceR fighters, which are due to be replaced by modernized ex-Portuguese F-16 fighters starting with 2016. In the first stage a first squadron of 12 fighter aircraft will be acquired and a second squadron of another 12 aircraft [18][19] will follow by 2020. The Air Force has also received 7 new C-27J Spartan tactical airlift aircraft, in order to replace the bulk of the old transport force.[20] Two modernized ex-Royal Navy Type 22 frigates were acquired by the Naval Forces in 2004 and a further four modern missile corvettes will be commissioned in the next few years. Three domestically-produced IAR 330 Puma NAVAL helicopters were also ordered by the Naval Forces, and were commissioned in late 2008.


Romanian soldiers on patrol in Afghanistan

Romania joined NATO in 2004. As a consequence, extensive preparations were made to abolish conscription by 2007 and create a professional army in place of a conscripted one.

The new armed forces include 90,000 men and women, of whom about 75,000 are military personnel (the remaining 15,000 or so are civilians). 60,000 of the 90,000 are active forces; 30,000 comprise the territorial forces.[21] Out of the 75,000 troops which comprise the actual military, about 45,800 make up the Romanian Land Forces, 13,250 serve as the Romanian Air Force and 6,800 are in the Romanian Naval Forces; the remaining 8,800 serve in other fields.[22]


Romanian soldiers during training

The Romanian Military will essentially undergo a three-stage restructuring. As of 2017, the first two stages have been completed. 2015 marked the end of the second stage when the armed forces reached a superior compatibility with NATO forces.[23] In 2025, the long-term stage is to be completed. The stages aim at modernising the structure of the armed forces, reducing the personnel as well as acquiring newer and more improved technology that is compatible with NATO standards.[23]

Current deployments

Romanian soldiers in Southern Afghanistan during a joint operation with American forces

Romanian troops participated in the occupation of Iraq, reaching a peak of 730 soldiers before being slowly drawn down to 350 soldiers. Romania terminated its mission in Iraq and withdrew its last troops on July 24, 2009.

Romania currently has troops deployed in Afghanistan, and is planning to nearly double its troop strength there to 1,800 by September 2010, according to an announcement made by President Traian Basescu in Prague on April 8, 2010.[24]

Other militarized institutions

The following Romanian institutions have military status but are not part of the Armed Forces:

See also


  1. ^ Romanian General Staff Data, November 2011
  2. ^ CIA World Factbook, Military of Romania
  3. ^ Buget mai mare pentru MApN în 2018
  4. ^ Romanian armament exports doubled Gandul, 13 January 2015.
  5. ^ (in Romanian) Ministry of National Defence. Press conference Archived 2008-04-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ IISS Military Balance 2010.
  7. ^ (in Romanian)[1], December 5, 2011
  8. ^ (in Romanian) Liviu Maior, 1848-1849. Români şi unguri în revoluţie (Romanians and Hungarians in the revolution), Bucharest, Editura Enciclopedică, 1998.
  9. ^ The telegram of Nikolai to Carol I (in Romanian): "Turcii îngrãmãdind cele mai mari trupe la Plevna ne nimicesc. Rog sã faci fuziune, demonstratiune si dacã-i posibil sã treci Dunãrea cu armatã dupã cum doresti. Între Jiu si Corabia demonstratiunea aceasta este absolut necesarã pentru înlesnirea miscãrilor mele" ("The Turks massed together the greatest troop at Pleven to lay us waste. I ask you to make mergers, demonstrations and if it is possible cross the Danube with the army as you wish. Between Jiu and Corabia, the demonstration is absolutely necessary to facilitate my movements.)
  10. ^ a b Hall (2000), p. 117.
  11. ^ Hall (2000), pp. 117–18.
  12. ^ Vincent Esposito, Atlas of American Wars, Vol 2, text for map 40
  13. ^ John Keegan, World War I, pg. 308.
  14. ^ World War I Documents, Articles 248-263. Retrieved on February 28, 2008.
  15. ^ Leo Niehorster, Army Group Antonescu, 22 June 1941, accessed June 2011
  16. ^ Constantiniu, Florin, O istorie sinceră a poporului român ("An Honest History of the Romanian People"), Ed. Univers Enciclopedic, Bucureşti, 1997, ISBN 973-9243-07-X.
  17. ^ http://www.defensenews.com/articles/romania-to-award-armored-vehicles-deal-to-germanys-rheinmetall
  18. ^ http://www.romania-insider.com/romania-wants-to-buy-more-f-16s/165568/
  19. ^ http://www.airforce-technology.com/news/newsromania-to-acquire-f-16-fighter-jets-4821598[unreliable source?]
  20. ^ "Spartan Order", Aviation Week & Space Technology, December 11, 2006.
  21. ^ Ministry of National Defence, Press conference Archived 2008-04-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ Adevărul, România, cel mai important dintre viitorii membri ai NATO ("Romania, the most important among the future NATO members")[permanent dead link], November 20, 2002
  23. ^ a b Ministry of National Defence, Strategia de transformare a Armatei României ("Strategy for the transformation of the Romanian Army")
  24. ^ YAHOO News, WHITE HOUSE NOTEBOOK: Obama in Prague

Further reading

  • Daniel N. Nelson, 'Armies, Security, and Democracy in Southeastern Europe,' Armed Forces & Society, Vol. 28, No.3, Spring 2002.

External links