Romania - Army

The Land Forces are the basic component of the armed forces and are responsible for conducting the whole range of land and air mobile military actions in any area and in any direction independently or jointly with the other armed services, including defensive and offensive operations and actions in order to seize or annihilate the enemy who penetrated the national territory acting both within the national and multinational military structures.

The Land Forces constitute the largest component of the Romanian Armed Forces. Program Force 2003 design is formulated around the brigade as the basic maneuver element for the Army. In total, nine active combat and combat support brigades would constitute the immediate response capability. Fourteen territorial combat and combat support brigades would support these active units. Three logistics brigades provide sustainability. Command and control would be provided by an operational corps and one division headquarters for contingency missions, while two territorial corps headquarters would generate supporting forces as necessary. In order to accomplish the planned end-strength, over 120 battalion-type units were eliminated or restructured by 2002, and another 200 were eliminated or restructured by the end of 2003.

"Restructuring the Force" is the most important task, among the others, and the cornerstone for the entire transformation process of the Romanian Armed Forces. Its achievement enables and powers the implementation of all others courses of action. For this reason, it will be analyzed more in-depth. The configuration of the future military force of Romania was defined as Project Force - 2005.

Following the end of conscription, the Army downsized from 6 active and 9 reserve combat brigades in 2006 to 4 active and 3 reserve combat brigades in 2009. As of 2004 the Land Forces operational structure included 8 combat brigades, 4 combat support and 2 logistics brigades. Part of the units should be able to conduct actions abroad, within multinational groups of forces. The mobilization and reserve structures will include 10 combat, 5 combat support and 2 logistic brigades. Operational forces, on the whole, will be maintained at a readiness of seven to 90 days and manned at 70 percent to 90 percent of authorized strength with regulars and short-term volunteers. The Army's territorial and reserve structure will include 10 combat brigades, 5 combat support and 2 logistics brigades. Territorial forces will maintain a readiness level of 180 to 360 days, have a full complement of major equipment and be manned at 10 percent to 20 percent of their wartime strength.

IISS Military Balance
	2000	2005	2010	2012
TOTAL	1,253	1,300	299	345
TR-85	314 	93 	54	54
TR-580	88	42	42
TR-77 		227
T-55 	821	717	164	249
T-72  	30

KAMPFPANZER: 2007 TOTAL 366 TR-85M1 154 TR-77 42 T-55 165 T-72 5 Militär International
Bat 114 Targoviste T-55 (some AM) Bat 284 Galati TR-85M1 Bison Bat 631 Bacau TR-85 Bat 814 Turda T-55 AM2 Bat 912 Murfatlar T-55 Pitesti Tank School TR-580 SOURCE
Open source reporting on recent and current Romanian Army equipment holdings are superficially puzzling, to say the least. Nonsensical would be another word that comes to mind. Janes reported in March 2012 that "In recent years the size of the Romanian MBT fleet has been reduced and it is understood that today it consists of 249 Russian supplied T-55, 54 upgraded TR-85M1 and 42 TR-580 MBTs. The latter is also referred to as the TR-77 ... It should be noted that production of all of these has been completed."

Part of the problem surely derives from the fact that Romanian tanks [the various TR models] are all locally produced T-55 variants, and may get counted different ways in different years by different people. It is plausible that the T-55 inventory of tanks of Soviet manufacture might drop from 717 tanks in the year 2005 to 164 tanks in the year 2010, but improbable [or at least very un-American] that this number would go back up to 249 T-55 tanks in the year 2012. It is improbable that the TR-77, production of which started in 1977, would be briefly restored to service around the year 2005, only to be just as quickly withdrawn.

No small amounnt of bean-counting confusion results from the nomenclature associated with engine upgrades. Amateurs talk ammo, professionals talk engines. Janes notwithstanding, the TR-580 MBT is not exactly the same as the plain vanilla TR-77. The TR-77 was originally designed for a 580 Hp German engine, and when this failed to become available, a less powerful engine was substituted and some 205 tanks built to this standard. Once the 580 Hp engines became available [hence the TR-580 nomenclatuer] another 405 were built from 1979 to 1985 with the intended engine, according to authoritative Romanian Army sources. Janes claims that only 42 TR-580 MBTs were produced before production was completed, but this claim must be in error. Similarly, the upgraded TR-85M1 was produced in limited numbers, compared to the TR-85. The other complication is force structure instability, with previously retired tanks being returned to service as new tank units are activated.

Romanian Army tank battalions probably have about 50 tanks. As of 2010, the Romanian Army had about 300 tanks, of which about half [150+] were T-55, plus 50 each TR-580, TR-85 and TR-85M1. Battalion 114 Targoviste and Battalion 912 Murfatlar were being stood up in the year 2010, and both of these recently reactivated units were reported to have received Soviet-era T-55 tanks, rather than more recently constructed Romanian tanks [ a very un-American proceduce]. One commentator noted that this " ... speaks volumes about the total lack of reliability of the Romanian made tanks - except for the upgraded Bison - and a silent confirmation of the fact that TR-580 is out of service and most non upgraded TR-85 are stored."

After 1989 the Romanian-made equipment was deactivated before the older imported Soviet equipment. This is some proof that the Soviet T-55 was more reliable, as the tanks with the worst technical condition were inactivated first. The TR-77/580 and TR-85 were not at the same level as the T-55 in terms of reliability, quality and combat performance. The Romanian tanks had high fuel and oil consumption. The tanks were assembled at 23 August plant (FMGS section, Fabrica de Masini Grele Speciale). The turrets were cast there, but the rest of the components came from different factories (Brasov, Drobeta Turnu Severin, Iasi etc). Some T-55s were modernized locally during the late 1980s to T-55AM (though not all of them). The T-55AM is a far more potent weapon than the TR-77/580 and TR-85, though in comparison with modern tanks, it was already obsolete in the 1980s.

By 1962 the first T-55 tankss began to be delivered to the Romanian Army. Even in 1989, numerically the T-55 remained the most numerous tank in Romanian service. When reducing the number of tanks equipping the army was a necessity, the (theoretically) more modern Romanian TR-77 and TR-85 tanks were cut from service, the T-55 became once again the most numerous tank in Romanian service. By one count some 95,000 T-55 tanks were manufactured in the Soviet Union until production ended in 1977. The T-55 holds the world record for the largest number of manufactured tanks, with the T-34 at second. Further numbers were built under licence in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and China. The T-55 was the product of a mature Soviet armor industry with over two decades of experience in the mass production of tanks, with a highly skilled labor force and reliable supply chain. All of these production factors were precisely what was lacking in Romania, where an inexperienced labor force grappled with low production rates of unstable designs at shifting production locations.

As of 2002 Romania's current and projected inventory of Conventional Armed Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) was below established ceilings. The efforts on modernizing weapons' platforms have generally been limited to increase product improvements such as the MIG-21 LANCER Program and C4/CIS assets. Romania has also focused on providing the most capable systems to our active forces. Territorial Forces assets have second priority for resources. A significant amount of major equipment will also be placed in preservation (Reserve Forces) or reduced altogether. It should be noted that the destruction of excess/obsolete equipment represents a significant capital investment. Land Forces will retain less than 20% of its major systems (i.e., tanks, AFV and artillery) in the active brigades. These systems will receive the highest priority for maintenance and repair. The majority of equipment for territorial forces will be stored and maintained.

At the request of the military staff of the land forces, armaments Department of the Defence Ministry, Bucharest, Mechanical plant in 2007-2009 were accomplished five pieces on DMT tank chassis, with 85 M1 to ensure realization of support of the engineer units in this category of forces. Thus, dragorul can participate in the performance of tasks for research: mined areas, execution and passageways in the land mine, mine clearance to partial or total land use for General and specific assignments to peace, crisis and war. Dragorul on the chassis of tank 85M1 DMT is a by-product of the tank the Middle TR-85M1: "BIZONUL", and was intended to carry out a series of specific missions. As an energy carrier, chassis, Powertrain plant-suspension and other important systems are similar to those of the original product, providing the same performance recognized for armored fighting vehicles track (capacity for crew and equipment, mobility, dynamic performance).

In order to achieve the objectives of the force given by the ground forces are intended to further the development of derived products on TR 85 M1 chassis-Tractor exhaust repairs and Mobile assault Bridge. Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints, they could not be taken up, however, experts from the Department of the Agency for armaments, research and Military Technologies, together with representatives of the land force, initiated with a view to carrying out these tasks prior to the design.

In December 2006, Romania selected the Piranha IIIC for deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq. The order was placed in May 2007. The sale of Swiss-made armored fighting vehicles to the Romanian army that will be used in Iraq came in for criticism from all sides. But according to the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), there is nothing wrong with the destination or the material to be exported. Seco and the Swiss foreign ministry approved the sale of 31 Piranha armoured vehicles to Romania produced by Swiss firm Mowag, as confirmed by the head of the company on Swiss television on Thursday. Mowag, which is based in Kreuzlingen in northeastern Switzerland, is owned by the US defence giant General Dynamics. According to the Swiss television news, the total arms deal is worth SFr62 million ($51.44 million).

As of 2008 Romania's strategic acquisition plan included six programs at a cost in excess of 17 billion Euros: Air Force--Multi-Role Fighters and Long-Range Air Defense; Army -- 8x8 Armored Personnel Carriers and 4x4 tactical vehicles; Navy--Corvettes (4) and Minesweepers (4). The Army programs involve domestic contractors, those of the Air Force do not, and the sourcing of the Navy programs is unclear.

The Romanian Armed Forces functionally include operational, territorial and reserve forces. As far as action is concerned, the armed forces include: Surveillance and Early Warning Forces, Crisis Situations Response Forces, Main Forces and Reserve Forces. The operational category, in which each of these structures is included, determines the priorities of the respective unit in distributing resources, personnel, equipment and training. It is highly required to achieve a balance in the armed forces, between the first priority units having a high readiness, and the forces having a reduced and variable readiness, representing most of the forces necessary for war.

The Surveillance and Early Warning Forces include specialized structures, directly subordinated both to the General Staff, other central bodies of the Ministry of National Defense, and to other armed services. They include reconnaissance and electronic warfare units and subunits, intelligence structures, as well as those used for C4I systems, and small, modular and mobile combat units. They are responsible for the identification of forthcoming military conflicts and crises, the management of the factors conducting to the increase of threats against the national security, as well as for preventing surprise. These forces are, generally, in permanent combat readiness. The Crisis Situations Response Forces are responsible for the participation in crisis management, as well as for conducting the first response in case of an armed conflict. They participate in the efforts of achieving our military strategic objectives in peacetime and they are the main deterrent element.

The Rapid Reaction Force include formations and units of all armed services, capable to act both independently and jointly. According to the decisions made by the National Command Authorities, a part of the reaction forces will be used within multinational structures in order to prevent conflicts, manage crises, and in other international missions conducted under the aegis of UN and OSCE. The participant forces will have an adequate size, acting and deployment capabilities, as well as logistic support. The Main Forces include peacetime formations and units, most of them manned only partially. Though the basic personnel will include standing personnel, a significant percentage will be covered by conscripts. These forces will become operational at war only after being manned with human and material resources and after an adequate period of intensive combat training. In certain crisis situations, if the threat is escalated in a very short time, the active elements in their structure may be included in the group of forces meant for crisis management.

The Operational Forces include Army mechanized, tank, artillery, mountain troops, air mobile, Air Force, air defense, and Navy formations and units, fully manned and adequately equipped and trained. In crisis and at war, they should be able to be subordinated to operational commands, aimed at setting up groups of forces necessary for conducting military actions both inside our national territory and abroad within multinational forces.

The Territorial and Reserve Forces include formations and units from each Service. They are meant for conducting territorial defense, training and mobilization, as well as for supporting local authorities in civil emergencies. In crisis situations they may take part in active structures subordinated to the Joint Task Force Headquarters, for accomplishing the missions assigned to them. At war, after their augmenting / mobilization and an intensive combat training, the territorial forces may conduct actions, according to the situation, being either subordinated to the Joint Task Force Headquarters or to the Territorial Commands.

The Reserve Forces include formations and units established at mobilization. They have Commands, Training Centers and other units provided with structures and centers strictly necessary for working in peacetime. These centers establish, at mobilization, combat, combat service and logistics formations and units. The Main Forces and Reserve Forces achieve the combat capability after their manning / establishment and intensive training.

Join the mailing list