Bulgaria Govt to Meet on Fighter Jets Issue behind Closed Doors
A closed-door session of Bulgaria's government is due in the next few days over the prospective acquisition of multirole fighters.
Jule 30 recently turned into a self-imposed deadline for ministers to specify whether Bulgaria will purchase second-hand jets (second-hand F-16s or used Eurofighters) or newly built aircraft (Swedish-built Gripens).
A final decision has been expected for years since several successive cash-strapped governments have failed to set money aside.
Russian MiGs currently on service will not be operational after mid-2016, and some will need urgent maintenance as early as September of this year Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev has refused to renew a contract with the Russian company that refurbishes them.
Daily Sega has reported that the government is expected to hand out to Nenchev and Foreign Minister Daniel Mitov a mandate to carry out negotiations with NATO on having air-policing missions from other states until the new aircraft are acquired.
Otherwise the Bulgarian Air Forces will be lacking jets to patrol over the country's air space.
No country from the alliance, however, is keen on performing flights over Bulgaria as it is not clear how much time its services will be needed, Sega writes.
As many as BGN 1.5 B are likely to be put aside in terms of budget funding.
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