SOFIA, Bulgaria (BulgarianMilitary.com) – Amid the heated debates over the purchase of a new type of combat aircraft, the Bulgarian Defence Ministry continues with its serious large-scale program for the maintenance of the old equipment in military aviation. In particular, this time it concerns the repair of the Antonov An-30 aircraft, for which at the end of December, the Ministry of Defence has opened a procedure, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
The An-30 is the only aerial cartography aircraft in service with the Bulgarian Air Force. It is used in Open Skies missions and to support donor operations, but due to the fact that its inter-repair resource has expired, the aircraft has to be temporarily grounded.
The estimated cost of the overhaul is up to BGN 5 million (without VAT) and the companies interested to carry out it, must have done at least one such a repair over the past three years. Bids will be opened at the end of January. After a few years ago, similar procurement had lead to serious tensions, now this one is expected to provoke increased interest.
Bulgarian Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov has launched a major program for the repair of the available equipment in military aviation, under which his team continues to prepare contracts. The government has approved framework agreements for the overhaul of the old Soviet MiG-29 and Su-25 that can reach BGN 200 million in total. It is also expected the Mi-17 and Mi-24 helicopters, the L-39s as well as Pilatus aircraft and Cougar helicopters to undergo overhauls.
Recently, the Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force, Major General Tsanko Stoykov said that the allocated funds enable the Bulgarian Defence Ministry to conclude contracts for the logistic support of almost all Air Force’ planes and helicopters, after conducting public procurements.
The need for the old aviation equipment to be repaired is recognized by some experts in the sector, who add that currently the pilots’ flying hours are dangerously little, and the aircraft itself is not in a good airworthy condition.
At the same time, others are concerned over the investment of significant funds in the old Air Force equipment and believe that it should only be maintained until a new one is urgently acquired. For example, Bulgaria’s Atlantic Council suggests, it to be sold and the money to be invested in the purchase of new one that is compatible with our Western partners.
Follow us everywhere and at any time. BulgarianMilitary.com has responsive design and you can open the page from any computer, mobile devices or web browsers. For more up-to-date news from us, follow our Reddit, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ pages. Do not miss the chance to subscribe to our newsletter.