The project Acquisition of 8 New F-l6C/D Block 70 Aircraft, Ammunition, Training Equipment, Maintenance Equipment, Spare Parts, Initial Maintenance and Training for the Bulgarian Air Force was approved by the Cabinet in a resolution. The Multipurpose Information Distribution System – Joint Tactical Radio System (MIDS JTRS) and related support and equipment project also received approval from the Cabinet.
After the National Assembly approves the Project for Investment Expenditure, an Acquisition of a New Type of Combat Aircraft, the Minister of Defense is permitted to sign the second stage of contracts. As mentioned by the Constitution of the Republic of Bulgaria, Contracts must be approved by National assembly.
The reason for the investment expenditure project for more fighters, which the caretaker administration approved at the beginning of last month, makes this prominent. All 16 units of F-16 jets may be in Bulgaria and used by the Bulgarian Air force till the end of 2027 if Bulgaria responds to the offer approved by the parliament by December 15.
Eight F-16 aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force, the first unit, are already in production. According to Jonathan Lin, head of Business Development for Bulgaria at Lockheed Martin, the delivery date for the first machines is still 2025 and has already been modified.
The additional eight F-16 fighter planes cost will be close to BGN 2.6 billion. Three contracts will cover their compensation: one for the planes ($1.3 billion), one for the AIM 9X Block II guided missiles ($24.4 million), and one for a tactical radio system ($3.7 million).
The Bulgarian government approved spending about 1.3 billion dollars, minus VAT, on eight additional F-16 jets at the end of September, giving an entire squadron through years from now, as they are scheduled to arrive in 2022.