Sweden Remains Open to Negotiation with Bulgaria on Gripen Fighters
SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Sweden remains ready to negotiate on the Gripen fighters in the procedure of selecting a new type of combat aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Forces, according to the official position of the Director Export and International Relations of Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) Joakim Wallin voiced today, learned BulgarianMilitary.com
“We respect the decision of the Bulgarian Parliament on the process of acquiring a new type of combat aircraft, but we are convinced that the Swedish offer brings more advantages to Bulgaria.”
Sweden believes that Gripen is the best option for Bulgaria and our Air Force, saying the fighter is the most advanced combat aircraft that have been proven in joint NATO missions.
“Gripen is manufactured in Europe, fully compatible with NATO standards and it has low costs throughout its lifespan. Moreover, Sweden offers a fully compatible package of 10 fighters,” emphasizes Joakim Wallin and adds that, along with the necessary armament and equipment, the offer is under the EUR 767 million budget originally approved by the Bulgarian Parliament.
The representative of Swedish Defence Material Administration notes that the report of the MoD expert group states that Gripen features the best operational capabilities. Such a partnership will bring benefits to Bulgarian society as a result of the deepening cooperation between the two countries
Sweden has already rejected that the purchase of new Gripen fighters will exceed the budget if all the equipment and armament required for aircraft to be multifunctional, are acquired through concluding contracts with third countries. According to the Bulgarian analysis, SAAB offers fighter aircraft for Air Policing.
The Swedish Defence Material Administration says that it continues to monitor the process and remains available for further talks if Bulgaria wants to hold such.
The Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov announced earlier that if negotiations with the U.S. fail, Bulgaria will start talks with Sweden. However, the deal is expected to be concluded quickly with the U.S.
Today, the Business Development Director for the F-16 Program at Lockheed Martin James Robinson stated that if Bulgaria decides to purchase 16 F-16 fighters, the second 8 aircraft will be at a much lower price than the first batch.
He added that no update of avionics and computers would be needed for decades, and the maintenance will be carried out by the Bulgarian Air Force at the Graf Ignatievo Air Base. At the same time, the training of the Bulgarian pilots is also included in the contract – it will be conducted in the U.S.
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Sources: News.bg, Mediapool