​Why can’t the Romanian Army shoot down the Russian drones that enter the national space. The explanations of the Chief of the Army

The Chief of Staff of the Army, General Gheorghiţă Vlad, explained, at Free Europe, that the military does not have the necessary legislation to shoot down attack drones that would eventually enter Romania’s airspace, as happened last year, requiring the amendment of four laws. “The drone or the remains of a drone must not be equated with an aircraft and respond to the legal basis we have at the moment, it must be assimilated to ammunition”, stated the head of the Army.

The new head of the Romanian Army, General Vlad GheorghițăPhoto: Inquam Photos / Octav Ganea

The Romanian Army does not have the necessary laws to shoot down foreign drones that illegally enter Romania’s territory, warned, on February 1, the head of the Defense Staff, General Gheorghiță Vlad, in the interview from Free Europe.

The Army chief explained that in order to shoot down drones, the military needs four laws to be updated.

It is about the laws:

  • National Defense;
  • organization and operation of the Ministry of National Defense;
  • regarding the Weapons and Ammunition Regime;
  • regarding combating aerial means.

“At the moment, the Romanian Army cannot conduct combat operations in peacetime. A state of emergency, state of siege or state of war must be given. The Romanian Army cannot operate the weapons systems outside the military objectives or the training grounds that we have at the moment”, said the head of the Defense General Staff.

Why does the anti-aircraft law need to be changed so that the military can shoot down drones in a timely manner, that is, before they cause casualties or damage?

  • “In this law, in article eight, for example, because the drone is classified as an unmanned aircraft, (the military – no) must follow the same rules if it is combated, i.e.: raise the air police service, the plane give signals that national territory or airspace has been violated. And there are four or five stages. (…) That drone, of course, won’t answer all that, because there is no pilot to see.
  • So it should not, from my point of view, the drone or the remnant of a drone should not be equated with an aircraft and respond to the legal basis that we have at the moment, it should be assimilated to ammunition, to loitering (no remote-guided ammunition), to other means, so as to enable the user of the weapon system to make a decision at the time.
  • Because the action time is very short from the moment it passed from the airspace of Ukraine to the airspace of Romania”, explained the military chief of the Army in the interview published by Europa Liberă on February 1.

What Mihai Fifor says, former Minister of Defense and vice-president of the Defense Commission of the Chamber of Deputies

Contacted by Free Europethe vice-president of the Committee for Defense of the Chamber of Deputies, Mihai Fifor, former Minister of National Defense, said that he did not know that the Army did not have the legislative instruments to shoot down foreign drones that illegally enter the national space: “I did not know and it is not my business to know”.

“If MApN demands this law, of course, we will mobilize,” he added.

The former Minister of Defense claims that, at the meeting at the MApN on February 6, in which he participated, the example of the Air Combat Law was not given when it came to the legislative emergencies invoked by the head of the Army.


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