- BULGARIA CHOOSE SWEDISH GRIPEN!
- More than 1000 paradrops from C-27 and C-130 were performed in "Thracian Spring-2017"
- Hellenic Navy participates in NATO Anti-Submarine Warfare Exercise “DYNAMIC MANTA 17”
- Spring Storm 2017 amphibious operations exercise in the Black Sea
- Bulgarian Naval Academy "Vaptzarov" photo feature: Annual Conference of Adm. Boyan Mednikarov, ANSYS seminar and visit to the Naval and Auxiliary Vessels Flotilla
- Bulgaria receives responses in fighter contest - GripenC/D,ex-US AF F-16A/B and second hand Italian Eurofighter are on the table
- Bulgarian Government launches tenders for two new ships
- Photo feature: Trident Jaguar 17 Exercise in Bulgaria and Norway
- "Thracian Spring-2017" in Bulgaria
- BGS Priboy returns to Bulgaria after participating in the naval exercise Poseidon 2017 hosted by Romania
Bulgaria’s defence ministry announced on 13 March that it had opened three proposals to equip the nation’s air force with modern fighters. These were submitted by the Swedish government, offering newly produced Saab Gripen C/Ds; the US and Portuguese governments, jointly offering ex-US Air Force Lockheed Martin F-16A/Bs to be upgraded to the mid-life update standard by Ogma; and an Italian bid using second-hand Tranche 1-standard Eurofighter Typhoons.
Sofia released a request for proposals for the requirement in December 2016, seeking an initial eight fighters to be procured through a government-to-government agreement.
The defence ministry’s current plan foresees an investment of €767 million ($823 million) to acquire the aircraft and ground support equipment, plus a small package of air-to-air and air-to-surface weapons, logistics support and personnel training. The fighters are required to be delivered before 2020.
A second phase, slated to run between 2022 and 2023, is expected to lead to the acquisition of another eight multirole fighters of the same type.
An evaluation of the proposals should be completed within a one-month period, according to an investment plan approved by the Bulgarian parliament in June 2016. However, the project is advancing against the backdrop of a political crisis, and a general election planned for 26 March.
The defence ministry is under pressure to sign a purchase agreement before year-end and use a €102 million allocation for 2017 which should serve as a first instalment for the deal.
Bulgaria spent €36 million last year on acquiring new engines and other spare parts for its current 15 RAC MiG-29 fighters. It expects to invest a further €16 million this year on maintenance for the type, which provides air policing cover for the nation.