The $1.673 billion estimate named in a US Defence Security Cooperation Agency statement is not indicative of the final value of the future contract between the US and Bulgaria on the latter’s acquisition of F-16 fighter jets and should not be seen in this way, manufacturer Lockheed Martin said on June 4.
The agency said on its website on June 3 that the US State Department had made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the government of Bulgaria of F-16C/D Block 70/72 aircraft with support for an estimated cost of $1.673 billion.
It said that it had delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 30 2019.
After Bulgarian media reported the $1.673 billion sum, contrasting it with the Bulgarian Defence Ministry’s expectations of a proposal for $1.2 billion offer, Lockheed Martin said that negotiations between the governments of Bulgaria and the US were continuing “and we are confident that the F-16 Block 70 is the best combination of operational capabilities, lowest operating cycle costs and total program costs that will respond to the requirements of the Bulgarian Air Force in the future”.
On the matter of the sum, Lockheed Martin said: “The Foreign Military Sales Process (FMS) is a function of the US government policy, but it is important to specify that the cost estimates included in the congressional notification give the maximum total cost. This provides an opportunity for further expansion of the program, without requiring re-approval by the US Congress”.
Lockheed Martin said that this price is not indicative of the final value of the contract and should not be seen in this way.
“Congressional approval is an important step in the process of foreign military sales, and it is a prerequisite before the US government can send its final offer to the Bulgarian government,” John Neilson, Lockheed Martin director of communications for Europe and Israel, said.