Bulgaria will Buy 8 more F-16 Fighter Jets
By a large majority, the National Assembly gave the go-ahead for the government to acquire the second batch of 8 F-16 Block 70 military aircraft.
With 162 "yes" votes from GERB-SDS, DPS, "Democratic Bulgaria", "Bulgarian Rise" and 33 "yes" votes out of a total of 44 from "We Continue the Change", the government's project for investment expenditure was supported.
The investment cost is BGN 2.2 billion in deferred payment for 10 years.
In support of the decision, the parliamentary groups stated that this guarantees the equipping of an aviation squadron of F-16 multipurpose fighters and guarantees the sovereignty and security of our country.
"Vazrazhdane" and BSP voted against. In their reasoning, they emphasized the need to modernize our Air Force, but pointed out that not a single fighter out of the first eight purchased in advance has yet been delivered.
In the plenary hall, the deputies argued about the parameters of the deal:
The MP from "Vazrazhdane" Nikolay Drenchev commented: "At the moment they are offering us to buy more cats in a sack before we have seen the first cats in a sack".
The MP from the “left” Rumen Gechev noted: "Today there is some kind of coincidence. We are discussing the paper ballot and the paper airplanes, which have not yet arrived and it is not known when they will arrive, i.e. it may not be about 2 billion and 300 million and another 2 and a half billion BGN, and it could be many billions, since the supplier wants us to sign a blank check for him a second time".
Ivaylo Mirchev from "Democratic Bulgaria" emphasized that military aircraft are necessary for the functioning of our Air Force and pointed out:
"Never when a country orders aircraft, they are not waiting in a warehouse somewhere. There is no aircraft warehouse. The aircraft are ordered, yes, they are on blueprints, but actually the Block 70 is the most advanced avionics possible that exists in this market. We have an obligation not only to society and the security of the country, we have an obligation to the people who are in the Bulgarian Army to provide these aircraft, they are even below the minimum that is needed for the normal functioning of the Air Force".
At the end of the debates, acting Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov thanked for the support, but warned that the first eight F-16 military aircraft are expected in 2025, and the second ones are expected in 2029:
"The life cycle of the MiG-29 will not reach the year 2029, and it will end most likely at the end of 2023. This is the place to call on the people's representatives again - talking about modernization, talking about negotiations with allies, that transit is also necessary platform. Without it, Bulgaria will not be able to protect its airspace".
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