The United States embassy in Sofia became the latest on June 4 to clarify the meaning of an announcement by the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency on Bulgaria’ planned acquisition from the US of eight F-16 fighter jets.
The United States State Department has 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, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency said in a notice on its website on June 3.
The agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 30 2019, the statement said.
The embassy said in a media statment that US law requires the executive branch to notify Congress of potential arms transfers to Nato allies that exceed $50 million. Bulgaria’s planned acquisition of eight F-16s falls in this category.
“Yesterday’s Congressional Notification was routine and we do not anticipate Congressional objections,” the embassy said.
Notifications are a matter of public record. It is important to note that the price listed in the formal Congressional Notification is not the final cost of the programme, the US embassy said.
“The Departments of State and Defence allow for a margin in all notifications in the event foreign partners expand the scope of the programme beyond what was initially requested. This avoids the need to amend a Congressional Notification and reduces the time it takes to complete a foreign military sale,” the embassy said.
“The Congressional Notification for the F-16 sale to Bulgaria lists the cost of the programme at $1.6 billion—but this is not the final price. The programme’s actual final cost will be based on final Bulgarian requirements,” the statement said.
The statement said that the Congressional Notification is but a single step in the case development phase of the Foreign Military Sales process.
Once the notification process is complete, the Defence Department will present the Bulgarian government with the Letter of Offer and Acceptance.
“At that stage, final negotiations begin and the Bulgarian government may re-scope or re-define the requirements before arriving at the ultimate cost,” the embassy said.