The U.S. State Department has approved a possible sale to Bulgaria of F-16C/D Block 70/72 fighter aircraft and related equipment for an estimated cost of up to $1.673 billion, the Pentagon said on Monday.
The Pentagon announced that the Government of Bulgaria has requested to buy eight F-16 C/D Block 70/72 aircraft with spare parts, weapons and engineering and logistical support services.
Bulgaria currently relies on the United States and the United Kingdom to participate in joint air policing. By acquiring these F-16s and the associated sustainment and training package, Bulgaria will be able to provide for the defense of its own airspace and borders.
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland.
Last year, Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced a plan to procure eight F-16V Block 70 fighter jets aimed at replacing its ageing Soviet-designed MiG-29s.
“The acquisition of a new multipurpose fighter such as F-16V Block 70 from the United States, equipped with the latest generation radar and weaponry will improve significantly the combat capabilities of the Bulgarian air forces,” Bulgaria’s Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov told reporters on December 2018.
Apart from the new Lockheed Martin F-16 jets the United States also proposed new Boeing F-18 Super Hornets. The ministry, however, said it that offer did not meet the tender requirements.
The Lockheed Martin F-16V Block 70/72 is the latest and most advanced F-16 on the market today. The F-16 Block 70/72 configuration includes numerous enhancements designed to keep the F-16 at the forefront of international security, strengthening its position as the world’s foremost combat-proven 4th Generation multi-role fighter aircraft.