Breaking news: Portuguese F-16s will perform Air Policing” over Bulgaria?

Pan.bg 07 мар 2015 | 01:24 views (3004) commentaries(0)
img A week ago the Prime Minister of Romania Victor Ponta send a request to the Council of Ministers of Portugal for four F-16 fighters and 160 Air Force personnel to take part in air patrol missions of NATO in Romania.

And whether the Bulgarian premier Boyko Borisov will not send such a request to the same addressee? According to the sources of PAN.BG military site the Portuguese Air Force is the most politically acceptable partner of Bulgaria to take temporarily "Air Policing" commitments. Other options will cause a serious reaction from the Bulgarian patriotic parties and might undermine the fragile governing coalition.

Romania currently experiences difficulties to maintain its “Air Policing” commitments and achieving full operation capability (FOC) of the recently purchased (but still not received) 12 F-16 MLUs will take some years.

Bulgarian MiG-29s, that currently perform “Air Policing “, soon will be grounded due to lack of spare parts, delayed overhaul and the impossibility to provide logistic support. And it is not because there is no wish on the part of the Ministry of Defense and Air Force, but because Bulgarian Government fulfills the imposed sanctions by EU (prompted by the Ukrainian crisis) on the import of dual use articles from Russia.

The Interministerial Commission for the control of trade of special products fully implements the EU Directive regarding the sanctions against Russia.
And secondly - Russia itself has taken reciprocal actions and will hardly feel comfortable to maintain combat aircraft of a country whose ministers in January denounced Russia as an enemy and are part of anti-Russian bloc.

Regretfully all these facts will make the magnificent MiG-29 fighter unusefull to the Bulgarian Air Force. So it is more than urgent to find replacement of that combat aircraft.
Most likely Portuguese Air Force will perform part of Bulgarian “Air Policing” commitments.

Or USAF, after some successful bilateral exercises (as it happened last year), will remain for “extended period of time” and take responsibility for the Bulgarian air sovereignty. But this option would marginalize Bulgarian Air Force and their 103 years of history.

It would be a good decision if the money for MiG-29 repair be shifted for the




start of the acquisition of new multirole fighter. The top priority for the defence minister Nenchev must be securing financing for the purchase of new fighter aircraft and to start direct talks with the perspective providers. The military expertise has been done several times in the last ten years. By coincidence the chief of the last expert group was the current Commender of the Bulgarian Air Force Major General Rumen Radev.
It would be appropriate that in May the National Assembly to vote firstly for INEVITABLE request for Portuguese F-16 MLU (or other countries) to take the “Air Policing” commitments and secondly – a decision to purchase new multirole fighter.

So within two years and with that Government still in power it might be possible for Bulgaria to regain its air sovereignty and fulfill its commitments towards NATO.
And during those two years, after failing to provide money for Bulgarian Air Force, we will pay twice more to a foreign Air Force to guard our air space.

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