The First F-16 Will be Ready in 2022 to Train Bulgarian Pilots (OVERVIEW)Defense | August 7, 2019, Wednesday // 07:37| views
The first F-16 Block 70 aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force will be produced in December 2022, the manufacturer-company Lockheed Martin and the United States Embassy in Bulgaria announced. This aircraft will train Bulgarian pilots. At a press conference, Justin Friedman, the American chargé d'affaires in Bulgaria, assured that Bulgaria is getting the most modern F-16 fighter in the world.
F-16 block 70, according to Lockheed Martin and the US, will have 12,000 hours of life, or 50% more than its top competitors.
The first six fighters must be ready in 2023.
The fighters will be equipped with two major weapons: the AMM20 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, as well as the AIM 9 Sidewinder.
Jim Robinson, Dir. at Lockheed Martin International Business Development for the F16, the F-16 can carry any kind of air-to-ground missile: from 2000 pounds of laser-guided bombs to mini-bombs and any other ammunition between the two. Combined with the unique target detection device, this gives Bulgarian pilots unique capabilities.
The program for industrial cooperation between Bulgaria and the USA includes the development of a drone production center in the region of Dolna Mitropolia and the modernization of the ‘’Avionams’’ plant.
Jim Robinson, Dir. Lockheed Martin International Business Development for F16 - This is an important part of the program we want to bring to the future with the new technologies and capabilities to support the electronic and hydraulic systems, as well as the tools landing on your own, but also on foreign F-16s from partner countries.
Americans reminded that the price of the deal includes airplanes, equipment, weapons and an Industrial Cooperation Program.
Justin Friedman, US Cartoon Charge d'Affaires in Bulgaria - If you actually analyze the whole package, the price of the planes goes down to the price that all other countries buy. If Bulgaria buys 8 more planes in the second stage, the package will be cheaper because you will already have the equipment and weapons and you will not have to buy new ones.
According to experts, Bulgaria should invest considerable money in the modernization of its air bases such as "Graf Ignatievo", where the F-16 will reside.
29 countries around the world use F-16s in 140 different versions that have participated in more than 400,000 combat flights, the Americans recalled.
Bulgaria will pay BGN 2.2 billion for the whole package of aircraft and equipment, with the US offer valid until September 5.