F-16 Block 72 Known as Viper Has Been Offered to Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com), 19 September 2018, Author: Boyko Nikolov, Photo credit: Pixabay

The U.S. concern and one of the biggest manufacturers of military equipment in the world – Lockheed Martin made its presentation on 18th Septemeber at Arena di Serdica Boutique Hotel in Sofia, and offered to the Bulgarian Government the purchase of the F-16 Block 72 fighter, known as Viper, learned BulgarianMilitary.com

The event was organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, the chairman of which is Dr. Solomon Passy and with the assistance of Mrs. Kalinka Kovacheva, who is a representative of Lockheed Martin for Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Read more: Bulgaria Cannot Influence the Expected Offers for a New Fighter for its Army

The senior manager at the U.S. company James Robins announced that the company is ready to offer to the Bulgarian Government systems, simulators and service till the end of their life cycle. We shall remind that the F-16 Block 72 fighter in question is fourth generation with renovated radar and information systems operating in real time, systems protecting the aircraft against crash on the land, systems following the life cycle of the pilot and saving him/her in case of loss of consciousness, as well as systems with big range of operation and accuracy of the firearms. The aircraft of 5th generation – F-22 and F-35 – are equipped with the same system integrations, which turn the F-16 Block 72 into an aircraft of 4+ generation.

F-16 Block 72 Known as Viper Has Been Offered to Bulgaria
James Robins – senior manager at Lockheed Martin | Photo by Tsvetelina Belutova – Dnevnik

Read more: Official: Bulgaria Will Request Bids for 5 Combat Aircrafts and Their Modifications

As of the moment, it has not been manufactured any aircraft of the latest version in question, but the U.S. Government has already managed to sign lots of sale contracts, and it shall be reminded that the Government of Bahrain has ordered 16 aircrafts of the same fighter.

“The discussion about the money will be between the governments,” were the words of Randy Howard, Director of the F-16 and F-22 Development Program at Lockheed Martin. In this way, he did not answer to the asked by a reporter of ‘Dnevnik’ question if the allotted by the Bulgarian Government money will be enough for the purchase of 8 combat fighters.

Pure mathematics on the base of the deal between the USA and Bahrain shows that the Government of Bahrain will pay US$ 145.5 million per an aircraft. This, however, shall not be a starting point for the Bulgarian expectations as the Kingdom of the Middle East has ordered 16 pieces of the combat fighter in question, as well as additional upgrade of the available 20 F-16s of the Royal Air Force of Bahrain.

Read more: Bahrain Expects New F-16s

“Realistically Bulgaria will not be able to produce parts for the Bulgarian fighters, but we are looking for ways for cooperation and will offer them. We do this all over the world,” said Randy Howard.

BulgarianMilitary.com learned that the U.S. company has invested significant financial resources in the building of a brand new factory for the production of the F-16 of new generation in question in South Carolina, the USA, and the it is suggested that that factory will ensure between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville, South Carolina.

The manufacturing of F-16 in the USA also maintains hundreds U.S. engineering and service private companies, and thousands of U.S. suppliers, located in 42 states in the USA.
We would like to remind that Bulgaria placed an inquiry for offers for the purchase of new combat aircraft to 7 countries as follows:

– From the USA we will expect brand new F-16 Block 60 or Block 70 and F/A–18E/F Super Hornet, as well as bids for the their used versions, but with their equivalent modifications;
– From Portugal we will expect a bid for used F-16 MLU OFP М6 (Third Party Transfer)
– From Israel we will expect bids for used F-16 C/D (Third Party Transfer) upgraded to the version OFP М6 (or such with equivalent capabilities)
– From Italy we will expect bids for used Eurofighter Tranche 1
– From Germany we will expect bids for brand new Eurofighter Tranche 3
– From France we will expect bids for brand new and used Dassault Rafale
– From Sweden we will expect bids for Gripen C/D and for used Gripen C/D upgraded to the current configuration in the NATO member states (Hungary and the Czech Republic)

It shall also be reminded that BulgarianMilitary.com is the first media that has officially announced the complete technical parameters of all combat fighters, in which the Bulgarian Government is interested.

Read more: Technical information and unit prices of the five combat aircrafts for which Bulgaria will ask for offers

In accordance with the NATO membership of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Air Force shall be compatible with and adapted to operate with the air forces of the North Atlantic Alliance and for that purpose Bulgaria has prepared Terms of Reference for the purchase of new combat aircrafts. Moreover, the available equipment is from the period of the Soviet Union and Bulgaria has at its disposal MiG-29 fighters, which must have been grounded and decommissioned from long ago.

About Lockheed Martin (U.S.)
An international company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. It specializes in the areas of Aircraft, Energy , Maritime Systems , Missile Defense , Space , Training, Logistics & Sustainment, Weapon Systems. The company works with U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. federal government agencies and supply the U.S. armed forces with military and rotary-wing aircraft. Lockheed Martin has clients in Australia, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, U.K., United Arab Emirates, Italy, etc.

Who is Kalinka Kovacheva? Kalinka Kovacheva is an official representative of Lockheed Martin for Bulgaria and Macedonia. She was born in Bansko and is a computer engineer, a graduate of TU-Sofia. She was a Director, Corporate Relations, and an Executive Director of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. She has participated in a leadership program of the U.S. State Department – International Visitor Leadership Program. Kovacheva is the only woman, who is a 96th degree Mason, consecrated in Israel. She is responsible for the Balkans and East Europe in lots of international Mason organizations.

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