Bulgaria must choose new fighter planes for its air force in the next six months, caretaker Defence Minister Velizar Shalamanov said during an international conference at Sofia's Defence Academy.
The country can choose among three offers – new Gripen fighters, used Eurofighter from Italy or used F16 from Portugal – and according to Shalamanov nothing is predetermined.
“The important decisions must be taken step by step in full and clear responsibility,” Shalamanov said and added that Bulgaria's air force will be in much better condition than the current, if it can get 8-10 multi purpose fighter jets....
The Eurofighter is a much better aircraft than the F16 and Gripen able to carry more up to date weapon systems however, all of them are expensive to run an maintain and the older they are the less reliable they become. The question remains unanswered, who is Bulgaria's enemy? Russia? Looking at events in the Ukraine it would not be a direct attack that would be the problem. That would trigger a responce from NATO itself which Russia would not benefit from such an act at all, no one would! Insurgency would be the main weapon which would mean Bulgaria would need less expensive, "new" counter insurgency aircraft.
They are a fraction of the cost of a Eurofighter and F16 so Bulgaria would be able to purchase more of them. They are much easier to maintain and less costly to run as well as able to carry a comparible "payload". Such aircraft would also be more effective for border control and counter measures for organisations such as ISIS, which is they greater imediate threat to Bulgaria. they only reason for pruchasing second hand fighters that I can see is "national pride" rather than effective defence measures. Well equiped, trained, suported and paid "boots on the ground" are far better than airpower at the moment and that is something that most NATO countries have a shortage of at the moment. Anti insurgency aircraft are well able to be effective in ground support as well at a fraction of the cost of a F16.
!!!!!....China and Russia, poor things, they missed a chance to work wonders on F16, they are "condemned"
to such a junk as Migs and Su...;-)
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