Bulgaria's interim government said Thursday it had approved the purchase of a second batch of eight new F-16 fighter jets needed to bring the country's air force up to NATO standards. AR writes about it.
The decision still requires parliamentary approval, but the cabinet has authorized Bulgaria's defense minister to sign contracts with US aerospace company Lockheed Martin once the expected approval is received, the government said.
Bulgaria wants to buy four F-16 C Block 70 aircraft and four F-16 D Block 70 aircraft, as well as the corresponding ammunition and equipment.
This will be the second batch purchased by Bulgaria, which in July 2019 signed a $1.3 billion contract to buy eight F-16 Block 70 multi-role aircraft. The first planes were originally planned to arrive in Bulgaria in 2023 and the last in 2024, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the delivery until 2025.
Bulgaria has sought to upgrade its military air fleet since the country joined NATO in 2004, but financial problems have forced it to be repeatedly delayed. Currently, the country has a fleet of obsolete Russian-made MiG-29 fighters.
Spain will send eight Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets and up to 200 troops to assist the Bulgarian air force next month, Bulgaria's defense ministry said.