Bulgaria’s government approved the purchase of eight F-16V block 70 fighter jets to replace the ageing fleet of Soviet-made MiG-29 aircraft.
According to several media reports, the long-awaited Bulgarian Air Force contract worth $1,256 billion for up to six single seat and two double seat aircraft is part of the government’s effort to replace outdated Soviet-era equipment.
The F-16 Block 70 features technologies developed for the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fighters yet provides a proven, capable, low-risk and cost effective solution for Bulgaria’s national and NATO defense needs.
The comprehensive F-16 Block 70 package for Bulgaria includes training for pilots and ground crew, logistics, support equipment and weapons for all operational needs, meaning there are absolutely no hidden costs.
“A long-standing Air Force dream happened at last,” Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov told reporters. “It puts them on an equal footing with our NATO partners. Our Air Force will have confidence that they have something as contemporary and up-to-date as our colleagues.”
Zapryanov said that six single-seat and two two-seat F-16s would be delivered by 2023.
Bulgarian Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said there was an option for the U.S. Congress to reduce the price by $60 million because of the cost of adapting a Bulgarian air base to the F-16’s requirements.