Bulgaria to Invite Offers For Delivery of Fighter Jets, Armoured Vehicles by End-March


Bulgaria will launch procedures for the procurement of fighter jets and wheeled armoured vehicles by the end of March, defence minister Krassimir Karakachanov said on Tuesday.

"We will seek offers for delivery of new fighter jets as well as used ones [...] We may also extend invitations to a larger number of participants," Karakachanov said in an interview with public TV channel BNT.

In 2016, Bulgaria launched the procedure for acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets. However, in September 2017, an ad-hoc parliamentary commitee, set up to supervise the selection process, recommended to relaunch the procedure, saying one of the participants in the tender had been unfairly disqualified from the race.

Karakachanov also said the expenditure of 680 million levs ($429.5 million/347.6 million euro) earmarked for acquisition of new patrol ships for the Bulgarian Navy is rather insufficient for the purchase of fully equipped vessels and the ministry plans to upgrade the existing frigates.

"We consider sending proposals to interested parties, and the main requirement will be for Bulgarian shipyards to be involved in the process," Karakachanov noted.

In 2017, Bulgaria launched a tender for construction of two multi-functional modular patrol ships for its Navy. In November, the defence ministry said that local shipyard MTG Dolphin was selected to do the job. In December, however, MTG Dolphin withdrew from negotiations with the government due to a cut in the maximum financing allocated to the project.

In June 2017, the defence ministry said it plans to spend 3.54 billion levs on rearmament programmes between 2017 and 2029.

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