Bulgarian Defence Ministry completes summary of bids to supply new combat aircraft

Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry said on April 24 that it had completed its summary of the proposals to supply the Air Force with new fighter aircraft.

The bids were received from Portugal, the United States, Sweden and Italy.

So far, the ranking of the tenders is not known.

Sweden has offered Bulgaria out-of-the-box new Gripen multi-role fighters. The other offers are for second-hand fighter jets.

The working group, appointed by the prime minister and headed by Air Force commander Major-General Tsanko Stoikov, had finished its work within the prescribed timeframe, fulfilling all the requirements and procedures needed to finalise the process, the Defence Ministry said.

The working group had summarised the proposals received and prepared a report to be submitted to the government for a decision on the continuation of the procedure, the statement said.

The results will be announced after the report is adopted by the cabinet, which will issue a mandate for negotiations.

In order to ensure the necessary transparency and continuity in the field of defence, the caretaker government is ready to provide the results of the work of the interdepartmental group of parliamentary forces in the 44th National Assembly, the statement said.

The investment project to acquire new fighter jets for Bulgaria’s Air Force was approved by the second Boiko Borissov government on April 1 2016.

It provides for an intergovernmental agreement to acquire eight fighter aircraft in the period 2018-2020, the first stage of implementation.

A Nato member since 2004, Bulgaria has committed itself to acquire fighter jets to meet the standards of the alliance. The country continues to have a small fleet of ageing Soviet-made fighter jets, for which currently it is paying large sums for engine overhauls.

Currently, negotiations on the formation of a coalition government, also to be headed by Borissov, are underway. According to participants in the negotiations, expectations are that this government will be presented to Parliament to vote into office in early May 2017.




The Sofia Globe staff

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