Bulgarian Air Force
Lockheed Martin will open a base for maintenance, partial and complete renovation (MRO facility) in Bulgaria, said Jim Robinson, "International Business Development for the F-16 in the US company. This means that Bulgarian aircraft can be maintained in Bulgaria by local engineers and technicians throughout the duration of their 12,000 hours of flight hours.
The Bulgarian Air Force reports that the main tasks set in its Action Plan for the previous 2018, have been successfully accomplished and the troops are capable of performing missions and operations. These are some of the main conclusions made during the Air Force's annual analysis, which took place yesterday (21st January).
In June 2018 Bulgarian Parliament approved a plan to spend around $2 billion on its Air Force modernization. It planned to purchase 16 fighter jets to replace its existing air fleet of MiG-29s.
"A new F-16 is a much better aircraft than all the others available," Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on December 14.
The Atlantic Council of Bulgaria has issued an opinion stating our country should purchase the U.S. F-16 as a new type of fighter for the Bulgarian Air Force, and adding that the government should adhere to the common practice in NATO member states - to acquire the average number of 16 aircraft per squadron, not as planned in two times of 8, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Israel is in the running to replace Bulgaria's aging MiG-29s after Sofia gave the green light to replace its Soviet-designed jets.
Bulgaria's parliament approved the plan to buy the jets in June in order to improve its compliance with NATO standards - which it joined in 2004 - in a 3.5 billion leva (NIS 7.4 billion) military modernization project.
On 30 July, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence published a tender for the general overhaul of two Mi-17 transport and four Mi-24V combat helicopters of the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF). The deadline for submission of bids is 3 September, with a framework agreement covering a period of 48 months to be signed with the successful bidder.