Bulgaria has sent the first of a total of eight Soviet-era Su-25 military aircraft to Belarus for overhauling and retrofitting, according to a statement by the Defence Ministry in Sofia.
The Su-25 was dismantled and loaded on to an Il-76 transport aircraft on August 28.
The transportation to the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant in Baranovichi, Belarus, was successful, the Defence Ministry said.
Earlier, Bulgarian legislation was amended to make it possible to send the aircraft to Belarus for repairs. The amendment enabled the Defence Ministry to issue an export certificate for such equipment.
The amendment was tabled and approved because for a long time, Bulgaria’s Economy Ministry refused permission for the transaction. There was a problem with transmitting payment for the overhauls because of sanctions against Belarus.
The repair of the eight aircraft is expected to cost about 100 million leva (about 50 million euro) without VAT.
Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry says that the Air Force has 14 Su-25s.
Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov has said that he wants to have at least 10 overhauled by the end of the current government’s term in office.
On August 24, Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said in a Facebook post that the government had fulfilled its commitment and had provided 82.51 million leva to the Defence Ministry for the repair of the aircraft.
Borissov said that he had visited the Bezmer military airfield where he had been briefed on the state of the Su-25s.
“I was informed that the Ministry of Defence had already transferred the amount to the company that will repair the Su-25,” he said.
(Photo: Defence Ministry)