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Israeli Air Force Holds Large-scale Joint Exercise in Bulgaria

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Israeli Air Force Holds Large-scale Joint Exercise in Bulgaria

Israeli and Bulgarian air forces are holding a joint exercise over Bulgaria, the Xinhua news agency reported.

Bulgaria will commit MiG-29 fighter aircraft and land-based air defense systems – likely the S-300 system that Iran has just received from Russia, and that Russia has deployed in Syria. 42 Israeli aircraft, including F-15 and F-16 fighters, will also take part.

The Bulgarian defense ministry said the exercise

“will lead to increased interoperability and expansion of military co-operation between the armed forces of Bulgaria and Israel, as well as to the improvement of the preparation of the units of the Bulgarian Air Force.”

Israel’s army is currently holding its largest drill in 20 years in the north of the country, one that encompass all forces: ground, air, sea and intelligence. Thousands of reserve soldiers are taking part in the exercise, which includes mock terrorist infiltrations, evacuation of Israeli border towns and an attack on Lebanon with the aim of ‘vanquishing Hezbollah.’

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Bulgarian Navy Frigate Drazki Joins NATO Operation “Sea Guardian”

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Photo credit: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

BURGAS, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – On 16 November, the Wielingen-class frigate Drazki, part of the Bulgarian Navy division of patrol ships for the NATO-led Mediterranean „Sea Guardian – 2018”, has sailed from its home port based in the town of Burgas, in order to take part in the operation, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

The frigate, which is set to participate in the NATO operation as part of the NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 (SNMG2) employed in the Mediterranean Sea, has been sent to its mission with an official send-off ceremony, held last Friday. During it, the commander of a fleet of battle and auxiliary ships, fleet admiral Malen Chubenkov wished the crew successful implementation of the assigned tasks and safe sailing.

Read more: Topic related to NATO’s presence in Black Sea again subject to internal debates in Bulgaria

The sailing of the Bulgarian vessel includes several stages. During the first one, the ship will transit to the Suda port and will be engaged in the Passage Exercise (PASSEX), together with a vessel of the Hellenic Navy. Then the Drazki frigate will join the formation of the NATO tactical group.

Read more: U.S. and Bulgarian Navy Servicemen Participated in Joint Exercise in Varna

Along with the SNMG2, the Bulgarian vessel will participate in the NATO’ maritime security operation „Sea Guardian”, which aim is to maintain maritime situational awareness, deter and counter terrorism and enhance capacity building. In addition to „Sea Guardian”, Drazki will become part and of the Israeli Navy’s exercises „Crystal Sea”. In the port of Haifa, the participation in the NATO operation and in the training of the Israeli Navy will be analyzed. Upon leaving Haifa port, the Bulgarian warship will take part in a PASSEX-type training, along with ships from the Navy of Israel.

Read more: The Bulgarian and Romanian Naval Forces Started their Annual Exercise Poseidon 2018

Earlier this year, the mine hunter “Tsibar” of the Bulgarian Navy, has sailed to a 39-day overseas mission as part of the fleet of the Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group 2 (SNMCMG2). It has been involved in the mine warfare exercise “Nusret 2018” led by the Turkish Navy in the Aegean Sea, as well as in the Bulgarian-Romanian “Poseidon 2018”.

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Source: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

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Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces Arrived in Bulgaria to Discuss Military Cooperation Expanding

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Photo credit: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Yesterday, the Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Andrey Botsev welcomed an Armenian military delegation headed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Armenia, Lieutenant General Artak Davtyan, who pays a two-day formal visit to Bulgaria at the invitation of Andrey Botsev himself, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

On the first day of the visitation,  a meeting was held to discuss prospects for expanding military cooperation between the two countries, with the participation of the Deputy Chiefs of Defence, the Commander of the Joint Forces Command, commanders of the Land Forces and the Air Forces as well as directors of Directorates of the Defence Staff.

Read more: General Andrey Botsev (Bulgaria) Attended a NATO Military Committee Conference

The Bulgarian Chief of Defence stated that this meeting allowed the participants not only to examine in detail the directions for further partnership, but also to exchange information on the development of the armed forces of both countries as well as on the participation in international operations and joint exercises.

In front of his interlocutors, Andrey Botsev stressed on the training and education of the military personnel as a very important element of the overall establishment of the armed forces and emphasized the possibility of future work towards expanding the collaboration between the military educational institutions of Bulgaria and Armenia.

“We believe that joint training and exercises are a good opportunity for cooperation and exchange of experience for establishing, certifying and supporting interoperable military formations,” the Bulgarian Chief of Defence said.

In addition to the prospects for expanding the bilateral military cooperation, the Bulgarian and Armenian participants at yesterday’s meeting also held talks on the common areas of interest and the possibilities for interaction concerning the partnership of the Republic of Armenia with NATO and the European Union.

Besides their meeting, earlier the same day General Andrey Botsev and Lieutenant General Artak Davtyan laid wreaths and flowers at the Monument to the Unknown Soldier in the centre of Sofia.

The schedule of the Armenian delegation in Bulgaria also included a visit to the Bulgarian Defence Minister, where Krasimir Karakachanov mainly discussed with his official guests the development of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defence.

Read more:
A Delegation of the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence Will Visit the USA

It was pointed out that the visit of the Chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Artak Davtyan to Bulgaria, contributes to developing the dialogue and strengthening the relationships between the two countries in the field of defence, based on mutual respect and understanding.

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Source: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

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Seven Companies Confirm Participation in the New Patrol Boats Project for the Bulgarian Navy

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Some Underwater Stones in Military Deals That May Cost Billions
Photo credit: Pan.bg

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Seven companies have confirmed their intention to submit proposals for one of the three largest projects related to the modernization of the Bulgarian Army – the one for the building of two multi-purpose patrol boats for the Bulgarian Navy. This was stated yesterday by the Chief of the Bulgarian Navy, Rear Admiral Mitko Petev, cited by the BNR, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

According to Petev, the candidates involve one company from Bulgaria, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain and two German companies as well. Their offers should be submitted by 15 February next year, after that the work of the appointed inter-ministerial working group will begin. It should come up with a proposal which is the most advantageous offer by 5 April. And the shipbuilding contract itself is expected to be signed by 31 May 2019.

Read more:
There is a risk for the defence of our territorial waters, stated the Counter Admiral Mitko Petev

The investment project for the acquisition of 2 multi-functional modular patrol vessels for the Bulgarian Navy has been approved by the 43rd National Assembly in June 2016, at which point, its expected maximum value was BGN 820 million.

BulgarianMilitary.com reminds that, in December, last year, the selected company – Varna-based shipyard MTG Dolphin, submitted a letter to the Ministry of Defence, announcing that it withdrew from the negotiations and the signing of the contract for the implementation of the investment project. As a reason for this was stated the reduction of the project value by 20% for investment expenditure, due to the introduced VAT on all military deals since 1 January 2017. This government decision was the reason several foreign companies, initially interested in the project, to withdraw and not to participate in the procurement.

Read more: MTG Dolphin withdrew their offer for building of two patrol boats

Earlier this year, the Bulgarian government has adopted an updated version of the project, which takes into account the above-mentioned amendments in the Value Added Tax Act. The main change in the restarted project is its maximum estimated value, namely BGN 984 million (VAT included). Compared to the investment project, initially adopted in 2016, the value of the restarted one is by BGN 164 million higher and it is allocated for payment in 2025 and 2026.

Two new options for acquisition are provided: purchase of a new defence product (modified for the need of the Bulgarian Navy) or licensed production and a combination of developing a new product and modifying an existing one.

Read more: The New Patrol Boats Project Is Restarted and Is Worth about BGN 1 Billion

The new multi-purpose modular patrol vessels are required to be equipped with basic armaments and ship’s items (options). The project involves the delivery of two multipurpose patrol ships, delivery of spare parts, providing training to the ship crews and integrated logistical support, as well (for the period of 3 years).

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Sources: Sega, Dnevnik

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Bulgarian Deputy Defence Minister Spoke about EU Defence Initiatives at The Economist Magazine Conference

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Photo credit: NOVA

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Yesterday, the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence Atanas Zapryanov together with Minister of Foreign Affairs Ekaterina Zaharieva took part in the conference “Seeking Security Coherence for Growth and Prosperity – A pillar for Europe’s stability”, which was organized by the British magazine – The Economist. The key topics being covered on the conference agenda included critical issues such as collective security and economic and political cohesion between EU northern, southern and eastern member states, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

The event was held at the Sofia Hotel Balkan and among the participating speakers were the European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Elżbieta Bieńkowska, the former Chairman of the European Union Military Committee General Michail Kostarakos and Bulgaria’s Deputy Chief of Defense Vice-admiral Emil Eftimov.

Read more: A Bulgarian Delegation Participated in the October 2018 meetings of NAC in Brussels

Deputy Defence Minister Atanas Zapryanov took part in the first panel discussion of the conference – “Generating Growth in a Europe of Stability and Prosperity”, speaking on the topic “Security and Defence Sector and its Impact on the Economy and Business: Innovation, Research and Development of the Defence Industry”.

In his speech, he highlighted the opportunities that are open to the Bulgarian defence industry for cross-border cooperation and participation in defence research and development projects, which will be funded by the European Commission. Atanas Zapryanov focused on new security and defence initiatives in Europe, such as the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund and the EU Defence Industrial Development Programme.

Read more: The Bulgarian Dep. MoD Zapryanov is Among the New Chairs for the EDA Steering Boards

Bulgarian Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva, who also participated in the first discussion of the conference, said in her talk with European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Elżbieta Bieńkowska, that Bulgaria supports the European Defence Fund and requires it to reach small and medium-sized enterprises such as the Bulgarian defense industry companies.

In turn, Elżbieta Bieńkowska pointed out that the European Defence Fund and the related EU Defence Industrial Development Programme allocate new funds and open new opportunities to the industry in Europe. But her meetings with a number of representatives of the small and medium-sized businesses in the sector show that the problem with them is that they are usually not familiar with the new investment opportunities provided by these EU initiatives. During their talks, both agreed that Bulgaria could organize an event to meet the major defence industry producers with local companies.

Read more: The Hemus Defence Exhibition has a good attendance by foreign delegations

Bulgaria’s Deputy Chief of Defense Vice-admiral Emil Eftimov took part in the second discussion topic of the conference: “Seeking Security Coherence for Europe”. He spoke to the audience on the topic “Military Capabilities within the Context of the Current Defence Related Initiatives (PESCO, EDIDP, EDF)”.

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BulgarianMilitary.com
Sources: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria, BTA

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