MiGs Repair 'Too Expensive' - Bulgaria DefMin

Politics » DEFENSE | March 6, 2015, Friday // 15:55
Bulgaria: MiGs Repair 'Too Expensive' - Bulgaria DefMin Bulgaria's Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev. Photo by BGNES

Repair works on the MiG fighter jets that are currently part of Bulgaria's aircraft fleet are quite expensive to repair, Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev asserted Friday answering to a question in Parliament.

Asked by an MP about the necessity for Bulgaria to acquire a new type of fighter, Nenchev said that, according to Defense Ministry figures, maintenance of the existing aircraft will take some BGN 1.6 B by 2029.

In the words of Petar Slavov, a lawmaker from the Reformist Bloc (RB), an entire squadron of 16 "little-used or even new" devices meeting NATO requirements could be purchased, and their maintenance would be cheaper.

But Nenchev warned that the MiGs would have to undergo maintenance during a "transitional period", even though the acquisition of new fighter jets could enter the capabilities development program of the Bulgarian Armed Forces by 2020 if an investment project prepared by the Defense Ministry is approved by the government.

Nenchev at the same time confirmed the airworthiness of most MiG-29s and MiG-21s was questionable and this could jeopardize Bulgaria's ability to carry out its air-policing obligations under NATO's air defense program.

Bulgaria has delayed for years a final decision to acquire new fighter jets, with three options (and, reportedly, a prospective fourth) being on the table.

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Tags: Nikolay Nenchev, MiG-21, MiG-29, fighter jets, NATO, MiGs, Reformist Bloc
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