Bulgaria and the U.S. Can’t Agree On the F-16 Price. Possible Negotiations for the Swedish Gripen

SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Bulgarian Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov gave an interview on the Horizont radio channel, part of the Bulgarian National Radio, speaking in details on the topic of acquiring a new Bulgarian F-16 fighter aircraft, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

Read more: A Bulgarian Delegation Leaves For Washington to Negotiate the F-16

According to him, at this stage the negotiations with the US have not achieved a satisfying for the Bulgarian side price for the aircrafts, and if that does not change, it is possible the government to turn to the second bidder, namely Saab with their Gripen.

 “Some of the proposals in the terms of price are not satisfactory, so the negotiations continue. The price for a part of this service is unacceptable at this stage.  If we cannot attain the result needed we have the right to propose to the National Assembly to terminate the project or we to continue the negotiations with some of the other participants“ Karakachanov said.

Read more: Bulgaria’s MoD Has Submitted a Letter of Request (LOR) to the U.S. for the F-16

“Bulgaria has possibilities, but they are not limitless. We have to comply with the price, the package of services and the payment deadlines. Everything is a matter of negotiations. If the price does not satisfy us, we have the right to say ‘no’. We will not accept any price that would be offered to us,“ he said. “We do not want to get something for nothing, but at normal prices, taking into consideration the prices of other countries,” Karakachanov added.

The Bulgarian minister is referring to the US and Slovakia deal for the acquisition of 14 F-16 aircrafts. The official information from the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency about a still unfinished deal with Slovakia is for $ 2.91 billion for 14 F-16 Block 70/72 V, or about $ 208 million for one aircraft.

Read more: Ambassador Eric Rubin: Bulgaria was not Pressured to Choose the U.S. F-16

Bulgaria sent a delegation to the US last week, led by the Deputy Minister of Defence Atanas Zapryanov to start negotiations on the acquisition of a new combat aircraft.

The prices for such deals often vary at the upper or lower limit, depending on many factors, one of which is the equipment, armament, training, and, most importantly, other follow-up relationships.

 “It is not proper to name specific parameters. If nothing happens here, we can ask the National Assembly permission to start talks with the other countries – Sweden or Italy. There is no peremptory situation to accept any price. We may deviate from the price but within acceptable limits,“ Karakachanov also said.

Read more: The Equipment and Capacity of the U.S. F-16 Block 70 Offered to Bulgaria

BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Italy has offered to sell Eurofighter Typhoon fighter aircrafts to Bulgaria, but second-hand ones.

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Translator editor: Monika Evgenieva
Source: Horizont, Dnevnik