SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Lockheed Martin’s presentation on 18 September in Sofia, with which the company officially made its offer for a sale of F-16 Block 72 to Bulgaria, undoubtedly turned out to be a strong move by the U.S. company, considering that it was the only from all participants that took this commercial practice. Today, however, the other participant that also has a great chances to be the final winner – SAAB Gripen, has played its trump card in the competition with his American contestant, learned Bulgarian Military.com
SAAB Gripen offers a partnership to Bulgarian companies, which to become part of the acquisition process of new combat aircraft for Bulgarian aviation. These are Avionams – Plovdiv, Optix – Panagyurishte, Terem Letetz – Sofia and Samel – 90 – Samokov.
In official presentation of SAAB Gripen it is said, we quote „Saab has already identified number of local companies for potential cooperation in the field of security of supply“
BulgarianMilitary.com contacted for comment the Marketing Director of one of the companies mentioned above – Zhelyazko Gagov from Optix who told for our media: “Yes, we are familiar with the fact that SAAB Gripen has quoted us in their widespread presentation. This can be a pleasure for us because in recent years we have been working on several projects with different company subdivisions, which have nothing to do with the current topic and tender for Bulgarian fighter aircraft. In our relationship with them we are guided by the principles of correct partnership. In this sense, it is logical that we have already had talks with the Swedish company about the current project and our possible participation in the form of industrial co-operation, but we cannot say more details at this point because the whole process is yet to begin.”
We remind that a few days ago, the Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov told the media that the Plovdiv-based company Avionams did not have a license to repair the old Russian Su-25. He is right because in business with military products and dual purpose products not everyone can produce, not everyone can repair and not everyone can resell. Only the manufacturer of a specific product can decide if a company can obtain a license to repair its products. It is also important to be understood that this license may only be valid on the territory of the country in which the company operates.
In connection to this, the citation of Avionams and Terem Letetz as well as Samel 90 may be a slight wink that the Swedish company would be ready to issue the necessary future documents for its Bulgarian partners.
Taking into account what Zhelyazko Gagov said, we make a conclusion that the three companies above may have also worked with their Swedish partner, which would be in their favor at this point. At Bulgarianmilitary.com we do not have received an official confirmation by the three companies for this, so until now it remains only our assumption.
According to the official presentation of SAAB Gripen, they are ready to deliver the first four Gripen to Bulgaria within two years, as well as to fully equip two sheds at Graf Ignatievo Air Force Base, which is located near Plovdiv.
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