US Specialists Inspect Bulgaria's Graf Ignatievo Air Base Ahead of F-16 Deployment

Defense | April 25, 2024, Thursday // 14:18|  views

Specialists from the United States have conducted an inspection of the repair work at Bulgaria's air base near Graf Ignatievo, according to information obtained by BNR. The visit, announced by Minister of Defense Atanas Zapryanov a week ago, aimed to certify the facilities and security systems crucial for the deployment of Bulgaria's new F-16 fighter jets.

While official results from the inspection have not yet been released, Minister Zapryanov had previously indicated that the experts would assess the readiness of the base for hosting the F-16s. These aircraft, the first two of which are expected to be delivered to Bulgaria by the end of this year, will initially be utilized for pilot training in the USA.

However, concerns have arisen regarding the timeline for the deployment of all eight F-16s. Three aircraft are scheduled to arrive in Bulgaria by the end of the first quarter of 2025, with the remaining five to follow by the end of that year. Delays in the repair process at Graf Ignatievo pose a significant challenge, particularly with issues such as runway flooding requiring urgent attention.

The defense ministry has warned that if repairs are not completed on time, the F-16s may have to be stationed outside Bulgaria, incurring additional costs. This scenario underscores the importance of expediting repair work to ensure the readiness of Graf Ignatievo for hosting the new fighter jets.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Graf Ignatievo Base, F-16, US


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