There is agreement with Poland on repairing Bulgaria’s Soviet-made MiG 29 jet fighter aircraft and the contract is ready, Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolai Nenchev said on October 6.
Bulgaria is shifting the business of repairing and maintaining the Russian-made fighters to Poland, after a previous contract with Russia expired in September. The move has irked Russia, which says that Poland does not have the appropriate licences to certify the work on the aircraft.
Nenchev, speaking after briefing the National Assembly defence committee behind closed doors, said that the contract with Poland for the repair of the Bulgarian Air Force MiG 29s provides for a price of 1.02 million euro per engine.
“I got the impression that MPs from the committee were satisfied with everything that I have done so far,” he told reporters.
He said that the contract with Poland would mean not paying value-added tax (VAT) of 20 per cent and a further nine per cent of other taxes and fees. Nenchev said that the contract with the fellow EU member state was extremely beneficial to Bulgaria.
Bulgaria’s air force continues to use Russian-made fighters, but policy documents envisage upgrading to Western-made multi-role fighters to bring the country’s air fleet to the standards of Nato, of which Bulgaria has been a member since 2004.
The concept behind repairing the MiGs is to enable Bulgaria to maintain air defence pending completion of the reform of its air force. With the completion of the process years away, Bulgaria’s cabinet has approved a draft law that would allow air force jets from other Nato countries to participate in policing Bulgarian airspace, and allow them to use weaponry in the event of intrusions by third-country – meaning, non-Nato – aircraft.
(Photo: Krasimir Grozev)