Bulgarian President: F-16 deal makes no sense if aircraft capabilities fall short

Bulgarian President Roumen Radev has again called into question the country’s $1.25 billion deal to buy eight F-16 fighters, approved by the Cabinet on July 10.

“My position has been clear for a long time since the beginning of this process – the government has been obliged to ensure the operational capabilities and technical support of this aircraft as they were drafted by the Ministry of Defence, adopted by the Cabinet and endorsed by the National Assembly,” Radev told reporters.

Before being elected head of state on an opposition-backed ticket, Radev, a skilled fighter pilot, commanded the Bulgarian Air Force.

Radev said that at the moment there was a considerable discrepancy with the parameters and capability requirements initially set by Bulgaria for the deal.

There is a total domination of the political motives over the operational capabilities, and the conditions for technical maintenance of this aircraft, he said, cautioning that over the time the maintenance costs would “make the project meaningless”.

Asked by reporters to comment on the $1.256 billion price, Radev said that it depended on what the price included.

If it included everything sent to Bulgaria in the bid offer, and as published by the US government, the price would be acceptable “but if that is not the case, the project loses sense,” Radev said.



The Sofia Globe staff

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