SOFIA, Bulgaria, (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Bulgarian Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov confirmed what was expected and stated earlier, namely that there will be delay in the evaluation of bids for a new fighter, which leads to a delay in the whole process of its acquisition, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
Bulgaria’s Defence Minister said the situation derives from the fact that the current working evaluation committee had to send letters to the participants to specify details of some of the offers. In order for the expert group to receive and examine all the requested documents, its time frame, which initially was until 19 October, is now extended to 26 October. After that, a second politico-military committee will start more detailed talks.
Yesterday evening, in his interview with BTV, Krasimir Karakachanov said he didn’t want a hasty decision to be taken to avoid making the wrong choice for the army. He added that the choice we are now making is strategic because the Bulgarian army will rely on it in the next 30 years.
According to him such decision will lead to the purchase of a fighter jet that will only stay in the hangars, leaving our pilots without aircraft. Karakachanov referred to the acquisition of the new Cougar helicopters and Spartan transport aircraft that are currently housed in the hangars because of the lack of funding for their maintenance.
Read more: Extra money for technical support or C-27J Spartan stays on the ground
His statement confirms the previous expectations that there will be delay in the deal, some of which expressed, earlier this month, by the Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force Major General Tsanko Stoykov. Then, he said in front of journalists that signing the new contract should be in the middle of next year, referring to the experience of other countries.
Read more: Bulgarian Air Force Commander Says the Deal for the New Fighter Won’t be Completed So Fast
Bulgarian President Rumen Radev also commented the deal for the new fighters, and called for “radio silence.” Karakachanov agreed with him on the subject, although experts from the Atlantic Council of Bulgaria criticized the President for his statement and said the topic should get public attention.
In its most expensive deal for the modernization of the Army, amounting BGN 1.8 billion, Bulgaria has received four offers – for new Boeing F-16s, Lockheed Martin F-18s, Gripen fighters, and second-hand Eurofighter jets.
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