Bulgaria in talks with US on deployment of anti-aircraft, anti-ship missile complexes

Talks are being held with the United States about the deployment of anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile complexes on Bulgarian territory in implementation of the decision of the National Assembly of December 8 to strengthen defence capabilities, Defence Minister Todor Tagarev told Parliament on January 18.

“Of course, it will take time to reach a common understanding. Both the Pentagon and the State Department are aware of the situation here, and in the process of time, further meetings and talks at various levels will be held so that we can increase our security with the help of our allies,” Tagarev said.

Addressing the National Assembly in a hearing on his visit to the US last week, Tagarev said that he had also discussed the possibility of compensation from US funds for the aid that Bulgaria provides to Ukraine.

Almost all of the F-16 fighter aircraft of the first eight ordered from the US are already on the assembly line and in the process of production, he said.

“Seven of the first eight aircraft contracted are already in the assembly phase,” Tagarev said.

“Production capacity has been reached that will allow the next eight aircraft to be built and produced without delays,” he said.

He said that the main topics in his talks in the US were related to bilateral cooperation, the modernisation of the Bulgarian Air Force, the security environment in the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans, as well as aid to Ukraine.

A January 16 media statement by F-16 manufacturer Lockheed Martin about Tagarev’s visit said that the inaugural flight of the first Bulgarian F-16 Block 70 is planned for later this year.

(Photo: Ministry of Defence)

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