Bulgaria’s Cabinet said on November 2 that it had approved spending a further 15.39 million leva (about 7.86 million euro) to ensure the airworthiness of the Air Force’s MiG-29 fighter aircraft.
The funding will come from the central Budget, in accordance with an investment project approved earlier in 2016 to ensure the continued life of the Bulgarian Air Force’s Soviet-made MiG-29s.
The ageing aircraft are being kept going pending Bulgaria, a Nato member since 2004, acquiring Western-made jet fighters that meet the alliance’s standards.
The government said that the additional funding would enable the Air Force to maintain and develop its capabilities, ensure air sovereignty and to implement Nato’s collective defence policy and the European Union’s common security and defence policy.
In early October 2016, the Defence Ministry said that it was changing the procedure regarding the awarding of the contract to repair the MiG-29s, going over to direct negotiations on the delivery of 10 aircraft engines, a step that the ministry said would make it possible to achieve better terms.
Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev said that all the requirements of the Public Procurement Act were being met and attempts made to successfully complete the procedure.
Reportedly, Bulgaria’s Air Force has nine MiG-29s, of which four are serviceable. In March 2017, the lifespan of one of the aircraft will expire, followed by another in April, reports said.
(Photo: Krassimir Grozev)