Italian Air Force Eurofighter Typhoon jet fighters will continue to guard Bulgarian air space for a further two weeks, after the Bulgarian government decided on October 11 to extend the mission initially planned to end on October 15.
In June 2017, Bulgaria’s government authorised the participation of the four Italian Air Force aircraft in air policing, from July 15 for three months.
The Eurofighters are based at the Graf Ignatievo Air Force Base. A team of 110 people from the Italian Air Force is participating in the mission.
The Italian Air Force is involved in the air policing mission in co-operation with Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29s. Each party to the mission is bearing the costs of it own force’s participation.
Italy was one of three bidders to submit proposals to Bulgaria in 2016 to supply fighter jets to the Air Force, offering second-hand Eurofighters. The bid was ranked second, behind the offer by Saab to supply newly made-to-order Gripens. However, Bulgaria’s jet fighter acquisition process, meant to ensure Nato-standard replacements for the Air Force’s ageing Soviet-made MiGs, is currently stalled amid domestic political machinations.