Bulgaria Seeks to Buy 8 or 9 Fighter Jets

Defense | October 27, 2012, Saturday // 11:47|  views

Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov. Photo by BTA

Bulgaria is willing to purchase 8 or 9 new or used fighter jets in 2014, Bulgarian Defense Minister Anyu Angelov has revealed.

Angelov hopes that negotiations will be wrapped up by the end of the year. He would then seek approval from the cabinet and parliament for the estimated USD 400-M (EUR 309 M) deal to be concluded in 2014.

The Defense Ministry has already held preliminary talks on the possibility of acquiring second-hand fighters from the Netherlands, Portugal, the United States and Germany and plans to also hold talks with Belgium, Norway and Italy, the Minister has told AFP, as cited by the Bulgarian National Radio.

Even though Angelov has ruled out the purchase of jets from European defense giant EADS or American firm Lockheed Martin due to financial constraints, he has said there was a possibility of purchasing Gripen fighters from Sweden.

According to the investment plan of the Bulgarian Defense Ministry made public in April 2011, it will pour BGN 2 B in armament purchases and military modernization projects by 2020. About half of this sum was expected to go for the purchase of new multi-purpose fighter jets for the Bulgarian Air Force.

The long-anticipated armament deal has been stressed as the main priority for the Defense Ministry because at present Bulgaria still has only Soviet-made planes with even the most modern ones – MiG 29 – approaching rapidly their expiration date.

After the Cabinet of PM Boyko Borisov declared ambitious plans in 2009-2010, in 2011, Bulgaria's purchase of new jet fighters for its outdated air force became ever more remote, after in October 2012 Bulgaria's Defense Ministry admitted it will not be starting the tender in 2012, as it planned.

The delay was caused by the fact that instead of receiving a budget equaling 1.5% of the GDP in 2012, the Defense Ministry's total funding will amount to only 1.2% of the GDP.

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Tags: fighter jets, Anyu Angelov, defense, second-hand, military modernization


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