Bulgarian Air Force pilot ejects from SU-25

A Bulgarian Air Force pilot ejected from an SU-25 jet fighter while on approach to land at Bezmer air base in the Yambol district, the Defence Ministry said on September 28.

The statement said that the pilot was in good condition and had been transported to a medical facility.

The Defence Ministry did not say what became of the aircraft in the incident, which it said happened at about 2pm on September 28. Bulgarian National Television said that the aircraft caught fire on crashing and was completely burnt out.

Bulgaria is said have eight (now seven, if the destruction is confirmed) serviceable Soviet-made SU-25s, out of a total 14. In a process that began in 2019, and was completed in 2020, the eight were overhauled at a plant in Belarus, at a cost of more than 42 million euro.

The ministry said that caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov and Defence Chief Admiral Emil Eftimov were travelling to the Bezmer air base.

A report on the state of defence in 2021 said that there were 43 aviation incidents involving Bulgarian military aircraft last year.

In June last year, a Bulgarian Air Force pilot, Major Valentin Terziev, died when the MiG-29 he was flying crashed into the Black Sea during a night exercise.

Bulgaria, a Nato member, continues to use Soviet-era aircraft such as the MiG-29 and SU-25 pending the acquisition and delivery of Western-made Nato-standard fighter jets. The situation is compounded by inadequate flying hours for Air Force pilots.

(Photo: Krassimir Grozev)

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