Bulgaria’s Parliament approved, at a single sitting on December 1, the first and second readings of the ratification of a contract to acquire US-made Stryker combat vehicles for the country’s army.
The 148 votes in favour came from GERB-UDF, We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, with 53 votes against from Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party and ITN, while three ITN and two BSP MPs abstained.
The project estimates that the cost will include $1.21 billion for the acquisition of 198 Stryker vehicles, $65 million for artillery and small arms and $101 million for Javelin anti-tank missiles.
Defence Minister Todor Tagarev rejected opposition claims that the deal amounted to Bulgaria signing a “blank cheque”, saying that the quantities were specified precisely, the deadlines too and there was a very clear schedule in the contract.
Initial delivery of the vehicles, to be used by the mechanised brigade, is expected in the third quarter of 2025.
Acquisition of the munitions will be subject to additional contracts under the US Foreign Military Sales programme.
“The contract itself provides for significant industrial participation, and we expect this to lead to a significant industrial effect not only in the execution of the contract,” Tagarev said.
The supply of ammunition and industrial participation in the production of such ammunition is the subject of a subsequent contract, he said.
He said that there was already interest and talks were underway about the production of such ammunition.
Tagarev said that Bulgaria’s ground forces had been waiting for new equipment for more than 35 years.
(Archive photo: US 2nd Cavalry)
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