Bulgaria’s Parliament Endorses Plans to Acquire New Warplanes, Patrol ShipsDefense | June 2, 2016, Thursday // 15:11| views
Bulgaria's Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev listens to debate in Parliament over plans to acquire new warplanes, naval vesels, Sofia, 2 June 2016. Photo by BGNES
Bulgaria’s Parliament on Wednesday gave the green light to government plans to acquire new multirole warplanes as well as two multi-purpose patrol ships.
The decision to acquire a squadron of multirole combat aircraft that would replace the Bulgarian Air Force’s ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets was approved by 123 of 156 MPs present at the vote. The plan to acquire two frigates for the Bulgarian Navy was backed by 111 MPs out of 143 present in the 240-seat chamber.
The proposed acquisitions are expected to cost about BGN 2.3 B (EUR 1.18 B), according to preliminary government estimates.
About BGN 1.5 B will be needed to acquire new multirole warplanes and a further BGN 800 M will be needed for the procurement of two naval vessels.
The acquisitions will be financed through government-guaranteed loans, which are expected to be repaid in instalments of BGN 500-600 M a year.
The acquisition of new combat aircraft will be made in two stages under a defence procurement investment plan approved by the government in March.
A contract for acquiring eight aircraft from 2018 to 2021 is to be signed by the end of 2016 under the plan. Another eight aircraft will be acquired between 2022 and 2023.
The plan to acquire two multi-purpose patrol ships with modular design for the Bulgarian Navy will be implemented over five years, the Defence Ministry said earlier without giving a timeframe.