Good afternoon everyone. It is a pleasure to be here. Signing this memorandum of understanding is not just a big step for Lockheed Martin and Romaero, but a bigger step for Romania, Poland and the United States. This is a remarkable day for all of our nations and for the European Alliance. Lockheed Vice President Goege, and Romaero Chief Executive Officer Bociu —thank you for your hard work in making this agreement happen. To my friend Economy Minister Popescu, thank you for all of your hard work continuing to develop the Romanian economy. To my new friend, Polish Ambassador Miej Lang – welcome. What a great way to start your mandate in Bucharest!
My friends, this is the future. A great collaboration between our three countries to advance and preserve the cause of freedom. The best helicopter in the world, the Blackhawk, made by Lockheed Martin of the United States, manufactured in Europe by a Polish subsidiary of Lockheed Martin and maintained in Romania by a Lockheed Martin joint venture. This is a true win.
To maintain and preserve freedom and democracy in the face of Russian, Chinese and other malign influences, it is crucially important to maintain vibrant economies as well as effective militaries. This agreement will do just that. It will bolster the military capabilities of all European countries and also benefit the economies of Romania and Poland. The best ally the United States can have is one that is strong militarily and economically.
Strengthening the economic and security relationship between Romania and the United States are my top priorities. I commend Prime Minister Orban’s government for its commitment to long term stability and focusing not only on military readiness, but economic development as well. I commend Ministers Popescu and Citu for working so diligently on Romania’s long term finances and economic development. I commend Defense Minister Ciuca for developing the Romanian armed services into an effective forward looking strategic and comprehensive defense force. Romania has no better friend or ally than the United States – we shall work with you and assist you in every way possible to keep democracy and the rule of law flourishing. I want the people of Romania to know that the people of the United States support you, President Trump supports you, and I support you.
We have trust in our allies and trust in our nations’ finest companies to work together to share the technology and practices needed to keep our citizens safe… while also putting them to work. Today American and Romanian companies are collaborating to strengthen our nations, our relationship, and deliver a service center that will significantly benefit Romania and this region.
Let me be very clear—this is not a routine business agreement. Romania, and Poland are linchpins in the defense of Europe’s eastern flank. Sevastopol is less than 600 kilometers away from us. Tiraspol is 400 kilometers away. The hybrid threats we face are real and they are close. Last Friday over the Black Sea, Russian planes aggressively and dangerously harassed American plane in international air space. They needlessly risked our flight crews’ lives. There are also many other less visible malign acts in the Russian quest to expand its sphere of influence. This type of Russian conduct consistently reinforces the need for a strong defense presence here on NATO’s eastern border. The United States, NATO and its member states will not be intimidated by these reckless stunts and malign acts.
Lockheed and Romaero’s Blackhawk joint venture makes us all more secure. Its beneficial strategic impact cannot be overstated. It is representative of our security partnership and the great relationship among the United States, Romania, and Poland. This facility optimizes the ability for the United States to export America’s best technology and aircraft. The Blackhawk represents the finest in American know how. This joint venture and the ever-increasing export of our technology to our Central and Eastern Europe allies, reassures me that our nations will continue to move forward prosperously and with the ability to defend their border integrity.
Romania is on the path towards a more capable and ready air presence. The Blackhawk is an incredibly versatile craft, from life-saving and civilian applications to its essential military role, this state of the art helicopter defines readiness. It is as loved by those who rely on it, as it is feared by those who have faced it in battle. There are many entities and agencies that have purchased this helicopter for civilian applications, including search and rescue purposes.
We very much hope that all civilian agencies in Romania purchase the Black Hawk so that it can be maintained in Romania at Romaero. Doing so would also help bring skilled jobs to Romania—mechanics and professionals who understand the Blackhawk and can keep them ready to respond to any crisis at any time.
Thank you and God bless you.