BUCHAREST: The Romanian defence ministry said Wednesday it had signed an accord with American defence manufacturer Northrop Grumman as part of plans for a relocation of US airbases to Romania.

The document was part of technical discussions with Washington on “the possible installation of American bases in Romania,” said Defence Minister Ioan Mircea Pascu.

If the United States decides favourably, “this memorandum will enable us to discuss concrete details with this company,” he said.

Northrop Grumman Corporation, a 28-billion-dollar global defence company headquartered in Los Angeles, is Washington's official partner in the setting-up and runnning of military bases.

It provides technologically advanced, innovative products and services in systems integration, defence electronics, information technology, advanced aircraft, shipbuilding and space technology.

With employees and operations in 25 countries, Northrop Grumman serves US and international military, government and commercial customers.

American officers and technical experts last month visited the Romanian town of Constanta on the Black Sea to examine existing infrastructures and facilities at the port and nearby airbase of Mihail Kogalniceanu, already used by US forces during the war against Iraq.

The Pentagon has been working for some years on the reorganisation of American units so that they can be deployed rapidly in the event of crises in any country.

It is also considering setting up bases in two other former Soviet bloc states, Bulgaria and Poland. The last is already a member of NATO.