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Modernization of the Bulgarian Air Force – not Related to the Situation in Syria

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Modernization of the Bulgarian Air Force – not Related to the Situation in Syria

SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 13, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova (Bm), Photo: Bulgarian MiG-29/Krasimir Grozev/wikipedia.org

The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov stated in a talk show of the Bulgarian national television channel bTV on Thursday (12th April) that the current procurement initiatives for fighter jets are not related to the present situation in Syria.

Karakachanov said, “This is a Project from 2016, voted on 1 June 2016.”

The Defence Minister also reminded that when in 2016 the National Assembly voted the costs (BGN1.5 billion) concerning the project for purchasing of fighters, the amount was without VAT, because VAT was not due on such deals. Only 6 months later the Law was amended and VAT is now due on such deals. Therefore, in the project that will be now submitted for review, it shall be explicitly stated that the amount for purchase of the fighter jets is BGN1.5 billion without VAT. Another change will be the number of the purchased aircrafts. It will be specified that they are to be minimum 8, and not 8 or 9 as previously stated. The idea is more participants to be invited, so that the shortlist to be expanded with possible invitations to Boeing (for new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet), Israel (for used F-16 Block 30), and Lockheed Martin (for used and new aircrafts). In this way, when the participants are more, it would be possible an offer to be received for more than 8 aircrafts within the foreseen budget. The condition is the aircraft to be manufactured by a NATO or EU member state.

“We have to modernize our Armed Forces, because 90% of the armaments and machines are manufactured by the USSR before 1989,” explained the Defence Minister and added that the MiG-29s may be used 10-11 years more, for the purposes of which he has arranged signing of an agreement directly with the manufacturer for their maintenance. On 10th April, mediapool.bg reported that Krasimir Karakachanov also intends the old Su-25 single-seat, twin-engine jet aircrafts also to be repaired. The Bulgarian Air Forces have 14 Su-25s as of the moment, but only 4 are in operation. The idea of the Defence Minister is all 14 Su-25 aircrafts to be repaired and put into operation. He did not specify when and how that would happen.

In brief:
The Project for purchase of fighter jets for replacement of the old Bulgarian MiG-29s started in 2016 when Bulgaria’s parliament approved a plan in June to get eight new or second-hand fighter jets between 2018-2020.

In 2017, Bulgaria picked the Swedish offer in preference to the offer from Portugal of second-hand U.S. F-16s equipped with U.S. weaponry and an offer from Italy of second-hand Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

In the end of 2017, the Project was returned to the very beginning.

This year new participants are to be invited to the competition for selection of a supplier of new fighters for the Bulgarian Air Force, one of which is Israel.

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Bulgaria is about to Conclude the Deal for the Su-25 Overhaul with the Belarus’ “558 ARP”

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BGN 41 Million Planned by the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence for Repairs of its Su-25
Photo credit: Chris Lofting (en.wikipedia.org)/Bulgarian Air Force Sukhoi Su-25UBK on take-off

SOFIA, Bulgaria, (BulgarianMilitary.com) – The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence is about to conclude the deal for the repair of the Bulgarian Su-25 aircraft with the only bidder – the Belarusian 558 Aircraft Repair Plant. This is revealed in a new decision signed last Friday, by the Bulgarian Defence Minister, with which he approves the deal, since, in the beginning of November, he in the capacity of a contracting authority, in accordance with Art. 22, para. 8 of the Public Procurement Act, instructed the appointed committee to renegotiate with the Belarusian company, and to confirm the agreed price reduction with a new report, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

The contract will now be explicitly stipulated that the total cost for the capital-restoration activities of the deal may not exceed BGN 49.2 million (with VAT) or BGN 98.4 (with VAT) after the approval of the Bulgarian Parliament, and it should apply both for repair in Su-25s entirety as well as partially. But still, because of the price discrepancy, it is not clear how many of them will be repaired. The latest report of the committee, which led the negotiations, says that the total cost of carrying out all possible activities, set in the procurement documentation (if there is such a need) for 14 Su-25 aircraft amounts, to € 73,665,500 (excluding VAT), which means that the Bulgarian MoD will be able to overhaul a maximum of 8 Su-25s if the government approves.

Read more: Absurd situation – Bulgaria is ready to spend BGN 311 million for repair of SU-25 (Updated)

In his current decision, Karakachanov explicitly states that maximum amount of BGN 49.2 million (with VAT may) under the framework agreement may not be reached and the agreement may be terminated at the request of the contracting authority. The Su-25 overhaul must be completed in the period of 4 years.

The tender has lead to a serious scandal after the only company which has submitted documents offered about BGN 310 million for the Su-25s overhaul, three times higher than, the set in the documents, estimated price of up to BGN 49.2 million (VAT included). However, then, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, stated that this was not a ground for disqualification of the Belarusian 558 Aircraft Repair Plant, which provoked the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, to claim that the deal is already set.

Another dispute related to the Su-25 overhaul derives from the fact that the Bulgarian state-owned company Avionas claims to have the resource to fulfill the deal or at least part of it, but the Bulgarian Defence Ministry has a different opinion.

Read more: Only “558 ARP” Has Submitted Documents for the Bulgarian Su-25 Overhaul

The deal is set to be concluded with the signing of a framework agreement as well as with further specific repair contracts depending on the needs and financial capabilities of the MoD.

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

On Monday, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence also published information related to the New Patrol Boats Project for the Bulgarian Navy, which lists the names of the companies to which a request for proposal (RFP) has been sent, which are „NAVAL GROUP“, „Fr.Lurssen Werft GmbH & Co.KG“, „DAMEN“, МТГ–„Делфин“, „Fincantieri“, „Navantia“ и „ThyssenKrupp“.

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Sources: Dnevnik, Capital

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Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence Partakes at Joint Session of the EU Defence and Foreign Ministers

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The Bulgarian Dep. MoD Zapryanov is Among the New Chairs for the EDA Steering Boards
Photo credit: News Agency BGNES

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Yesterday, a Bulgarian delegation, headed by the Deputy Minister of Defence Atanas Zapryanov, has arrived in Brussels, Belgium in order to take part at a two-day joint session of the EU Foreign Affairs and Foreign Affairs (Defence) Councils, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

The indicative program of the event, which is taking place on 19 and 20 November with the participation of the Defence Ministers and the Foreign Ministers of the EU member states, in general includes two separate meetings of the EU Foreign Affairs Council and the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) as well as a joint session of Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers (Roundtable). There, the participating EU Ministers are discussing issues related to the EU cooperation in security and defence and the initiatives of the implementation of the EU Global Strategy in this area.

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

The agenda of yesterday’s joint session of the EU Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers involved discussions on security and defence issues, including the permanent structured cooperation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund, the coordinated annual review on defence (CARD) and military mobility. The members are also expected to have approved and a new, second set of PESCO projects, which includes the Bulgarian project proposal for a modular unit for rapid deployment in underwater operations. The project has been developed by the Bulgarian Navy and is identified as a priority for building the EU’s defense capabilities.

Today, before the EU Foreign Affairs Council (Defence) meeting, the steering board of European Defence Agency is set to held a session under the chairmanship of Federica Mogherini, the Head of the Agency. During it, the ministers are expected to approve the proposed Agency’s 2019 general budget, which reflects the increasing demands on the EDA and the new tasks, deriving from the new PESCO and CARD (Coordinated Annual Review on Defence ) initiatives. The discussion involves the CARD trial run and the three-year planning framework 2019-2021, which is set to be also approved within the meeting.

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

After that, the EU Defence Ministers are scheduled to have their own session in order to discuss NATO-EU cooperation and the latest developments in this collaboration, in the presence of the NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.

The Belgian joint session of the Defence and Foreign Affairs Ministers, will conclude with talks on the EU’s missions and operations under the Common Security and Defence Policy.

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Source: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

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Boeing’s F-18 Super Hornet Dropped out of the Competition for Bulgarian New Fighters

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Photo credit: Defensenews.com

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – The U.S. proposal of Boeing F-18 Super Hornets for the new Bulgarian fighter has been disqualified as a non-responsive bid. This was stated in an interview by the Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence, Atanas Zapryanov, who added that the Boeing’s offer was incomplete and structured only as an intend, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: Bulgaria Considering Boeing Super Hornets to Complement MiG-29s

Having in mind that the appointed committee of experts has refused to consider and evaluate Boeing’s F/A-18s bid, now Bulgaria selects between Lockheed Martin’s F-16s, Swedish Gripen fighters, and Leonardo’s second-hand Eurofighter jets. It is a known fact that the real competition will be between the first two offers, given that the representatives of the Bulgarian government have repeatedly stated that they want to buy new fighters for the Bulgarian Air Force.

Read more: The New Bulgarian Fighter Will Be Selected from among Four Bids

Another thing that Atanas Zapryanov revealed in his interview is that the conclusion of the contract will be delayed as there are no longer any set deadlines for the completion of the project. In regard to this, he commented: “We decided to use the positive experience of organizations such as NATO and the EU – if you want to achieve a good result, you do not have to set time parameters but to set quality parameters. We do not want to rush at the expense of the offers’ quality, we want to work as long as it is possible. Of course, as quickly as possible, but still do not restrict the participants to give us the maximum information we need.” Then, he emphasized that there are parameters for which, if the information is missing, bids cannot be further considered and evaluated.

Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Defence pointed out that the first expert committee, which was in charge with the analysis of the proposals, has already completed its work and has identified what additional information is needed, without rating the offers, because the group has no such obligation. Now the second political-military group, consisting of deputy ministers, will negotiate with the bidders in order to persuade them to provide all the necessary information and to improve their bids. The final decision will be political.

In general, Atanas Zapryanov said that at the moment there is no “ideal offer”. According to his words, they all are valid, but need further clarifications and improvements, adding that“there is much, much information to be clarified.”

Read more: Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Confirms the Delay of the Deal for the New Fighter

Bulgarian Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov also officially confirmed that the Boeing offer for new F / A-18s has dropped out and now the appointed committee will evaluate the other three offers, however he did not state any time parameters for the selection of a contractor.

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Source: Mediapool

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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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