Bulgarian Defence Ministry: Report on selection of fighter jet handed to Cabinet
The report on the work of the committees on a choice of a new fighter jet for the Bulgarian Air Force has been submitted to the Cabinet office, the Defence Ministry said on December 21.
The report was submitted by Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov and Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov.
It covers the work of the two committees that have been scrutinising the offers, one an interdepartmental expert commission and the other a political and military group.
Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry said that the report contains a summary of the evaluations and analysis of the offers submitted.
“On this basis, a specific option for a decision by the Cabinet and the National Assembly is proposed to continue and definitively finalise the procedure for acquiring a new multipurpose fighter according to the technical and tactical data of the proposed aircraft, the price proposals and the geostrategic interests of the country,” the Defence Ministry said.
Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry received four offers in reply to its request for proposals to supply fighter jets to the Bulgarian Air Force, the deadline for which was October 1.
Two offers came from the United States, for new F-16s and new F-18s, while Sweden once again put forward its offer for new Gripen jets. Italy’s offer was for used Eurofighters.
Bulgaria had invited bids from seven countries in July after Parliament approved, in June 2018, a 3.5 billion leva military modernisation project, which included 1.8 billion leva for the fighter jets, to be acquired in two stages of eight each.
The deadline for the US, Sweden and Italy to improve their bids was December 14.
Sweden’s Gripen announced that day that it was now offering 10 instead of eight fighters. The same day, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that he had spoken to Air Force pilots and saw the F-16 as the best offer, though he added he did not want to interfere in the selection process.