Bulgarian DefMin Hopes Contract on Repair of MiG-29 Jets to be Ratified by End of Month
Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev expressed hope that parliament will ratify the contract with Poland on the repair of Bulgaria's MiG-29 fighter jets in the next one-two weeks.
Nenchev said in Brussels on Thursday that both Bulgaria and Poland will sign the contract once it is ratified, private bTV station quoted him as saying.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Bulgarian government authorised the defence minister to sign the contract on repair.
According to him, the duration of the contract is not of much importance as an annex would be sufficient for its extension in case Bulgaria decided to repair other engines or aircraft.
Furthermore, the contract foresees that immediately following its signature, the country will receive within twenty days two repaired engines for a period of two years.
The contract provides that Bulgaria will have another three fighter jets repaired by September 2016.
Nenchev stated that there were political, financial and other interests behind the negative reactions in Bulgaria against the contract with Poland.
In his opinion, switching from the Russian company RSK MiG to a Polish one for the maintenance of the fighter jets was a geostrategic choice, which Bulgaria had the courage to do.
He noted that the price of the repair by Poland was nearly 40 % times lower than the one which had been offered by Russia.
According to him, this hinted of some serious misdeeds in the past.
Nenchev added that he had the assurance of Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on the government's will to acquire a new aircraft for the country's air force.
The defence minister announced this to his colleagues from the NATO member countries and received a high appraisal.
According to his estimates, Bulgaria could police its airspace until the middle of next year with the available resources.
Apart from the contract with Poland, Nenchev also noted the decision of the government to approve the programme on the development of the country's defence capabilities and the discussions on launching joint air policing missions with NATO allies.
In his opinion, these steps clearly demonstrated Bulgaria's will to be an active and firmly integrated member of the Alliance, which received only positive assessments at the meeting of NATO defence ministers.
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