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Bulgaria’s Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Velichkov Attended the Final Phase of the “Strike Back 2018”

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Photo credit: Cross.bg

THE KOREN FIELD TRAINING GROUND, Bulgaria, (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Last Friday (19 October), the final phase of the tactical training exercise Strike Back 2018 at the Field Training Ground “Koren” was held. The demonstrations, performed by the participants of the Bulgaria’s Land Forces, on the last day of the combat shooting drill, were attended and watched by high-ranking guests, including Deputy Minister of Defence Anatoliy Velichkov, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: Tactical Exercise Strike Back 2018 will be Held at Koren Field Training Ground

After watching the performed tasks, Anatoliy Velichkov, said that he was impressed and pleased with the capabilities of all servicemen in the exercise, the professional conduct, as well as with the good interaction of the units of the reinforced mechanized battalion.

Among the visitors, at the final day of Strike Back 2018, were also Deputy Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Dimitar Iliev, the Commander of the Joint Forces Command (JFC) Lieutenant General Lyubcho Todorov, Security and Defence Secretary of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Stefan Yanev, Deputy Commander of the Land Forces Brigadier General Valeri Tsolov, and senior officers as well as representatives of the state and local authorities.

Deputy Chief of Defence Lieutenant General Dimitar Iliev evaluated the built training capabilities during the tactical exercise, saying that the participants were well prepared and demonstrated high professionalism.

Strike Back 2018, which purpose was the cooperation of the units, participating in defensive operations, to be enhanced, was conducted with the participation of servicemen, of the 42nd Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Yambol, with Commander Ivaylo Ivanov, assigned to 2nd Mechanized Brigade as well as the Land Forces and the Air Force units of the battalion. They performed tasks related to a defense area occupation and camouflage as well as deployment of engineering equipment on its territory. The tasks also involved defense actions, calling for the artillery and aviation fire, providing medical assistance including taking away injured from the battlefield, as well as medical evacuation using sanitary vehicles and preparation for subsequent evacuation.

In total, this year’s tactical shooting drill was held with the participation of 700 servicemen of the 2nd Mechanized Brigade, a tank platoon of the Specialists Training Center, Sliven, a smoke platoon, assigned to the 38th Nuclear, Chemical, Biological Protection and Ecology Regiment, Musachevo, a platoon for signal reconnaissance and electronic warfare of the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, Svoboda, cadets from “Vassil Levski” National Military University, Air Force servicemen, as well as 190 units of combat and special equipment.

At the same time, Bulgaria’s Defence Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, opened two-day International Competition Commando Challenge 2018 that was held at a tactical shooting range facility situated into the village of Michkovci, Gabrovo. It was organized by ex officers of Bulgarian SWAT team and ex officers of 68th Squadron – Special forces in cooperation with ICSTPS Alfa-Metal Ltd. In it, 15 teams, including teams of the Bulgarian Army, the Bulgarian Special Counter-terrorist Unit, Ministry of Interior, National Service for Protection and a team from Ukraine took part. They performed tasks such as passing through an obstacle path, shooting with a long-barrel weapon on different distances, passing through a designated route, carrying an injured person, providing first aid, as well as an evacuation of an injured person.

Read more:
Defense Minister Karakachanov Greeted the Border Police and the Army for their Cooperation in the Protection of the Border

Read more:
Bulgarian Servicemen in Blue Bridge and Saber Junction 2018 Exercises

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Source: MoD of the Republic of Bulgaria

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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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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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