Lockheed Martin: Bulgaria Will Receive F-16 with Full Combat CapabilitySociety | August 6, 2019, Tuesday // 13:53| views
The F-16 Block 70 fighter will have full combat capabilities, said Lockheed Martin International Business Development Director Jim Robinson.
At a press conference, representatives of the US company and the US Embassy in Bulgaria gave details about the production, delivery, capabilities of the aircraft, as well as the benefits to Bulgaria of the strategic partnership.
"The most advanced F-16 models will fly in Bulgaria," said Robinson, who assured that the new fighter jets would have sufficient air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons as well as full interoperability with NATO systems.
"You can get anything you want on the F-16," he explained, adding that the planes would be fully armed by the first day they arrived.
The deal will cost Bulgaria $ 1.256 billion, making Bulgaria the 30th country in the world to fly F-16 fighter jets. It is envisaged that the first aircraft will be ready in December 2022 and delivered immediately so that the Air Force's technical staff can be trained.
Lockheed Martin plans the aircraft to have an operating life of 12,000 flying hours, but good maintenance is needed. That is why the Bulgarian Air Force technical staff will leave for training in the USA.
In connection with the industrial cooperation, the company stated that unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) can be manufactured in Bulgaria, but it is not yet decided what type they should be. After acquiring the first eight aircraft, Bulgaria can buy the other eight, which are expected to be at a lower price, because Bulgaria will already have a large part of the necessary equipment.
For his part, Justin Friedman, the deputy head of the US diplomatic mission in Sofia, said the deal for the new fighters would deepen the partnership between our country and the United States.
"Bulgaria will reduce its dependence on Russian military equipment," he stressed, assuring that the purchase of the F-16 will guarantee the best aircraft for Bulgarian pilots.