SOFIA, (BM) – Bulgarian media have reported in recent days that the US government will donate two F-16 fighters to the Bulgarian Air Force completely free of charge. The news went around the media, but it seems that the most important thing was not announced. BulgarianMilitary.com has learned that the probability of the two free F-16 fighters being “flying” machines is close to zero percent.
It all started with the visit of Deputy Secretary of State Rene Clark Cooper at Graf Ignatievo Airport these days. He confirmed to journalists the possibility for the United States to donate two F-16 fighters to Bulgaria. However, what is stubbornly avoided by the media is that these machines have been taken out of use and are actually non-flying. The idea is for the Pentagon to facilitate the training of Bulgarian pilots on the F-16, while Sofia expects the first delivery of the ordered and paid eight F-16 Block 70 fighters. The provision of the two free fighters will be carried out under the Excessive Defense Program [EDA] .
We remind you that similar deals concerning disarmed weapons must also go through the approval of the US Congress, but experts say that the real proposal will not meet obstacles, both “grounded” fighters will be accepted and arrive in Bulgaria. The US Embassy in Sofia also confirmed the news.
The pathos of the Bulgarian media at the moment is excessive and unfounded, as most of the working journalists are not line journalists in the field of the military industry and are not familiar with the principle of action in this field. In reality, according to military experts, it does not make sense for America to donate to Bulgaria two working and functioning F-16s for free. It should also be noted that the US EDA program itself involves the provision of equipment that is worn out, worn out and not used.
It is assumed that the two fighters will be a model F-16 Fighting Falcon, which is also a sign that they will be used only for training, given that the F-16 Block 70 ordered from Bulgaria has avionics approaching this of the fifth generation F-35 fighter. Bulgaria chose the F-16 Block 70 almost two years ago. At the end of last year and the beginning of this, the government of Boyko Borissov paid 100% of the price agreed between the parties.
Bulgaria is considering to buy additional F-16s and three ground radar systems
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov announced on October 16 that Bulgaria is considering buying additional F-16 Block 70 fighters, the so-called F-16V, the latest version of this machine, as we reported. In addition, it is also considering the purchase of other weapons and equipment, including three three ground radar systems
These are exactly eight more F-16s that would join the eight machines of the same type and version, which were financed last year. In this way, Bulgaria would have a total of 16 aircraft, which would create a fully-fledged multi-role squadron.
However, considering the delivery time of the first eight machines is not expected to end until 2024, this would mean that the next order would not take place until the middle of this decade, and the deliveries – probably at the end of it. This is an extremely long time horizon, especially considering the current technological progress. The Bulgarians would put the full F-16 squadron on standby on the eve of the entry into service of such systems as Tempest, FCAS / SKAF and at times when the Russian Su-57 can reach maturity.
The statements of Prime Minister Boyko Borisov quoted at present may, however, prove that the Bulgarians will not wait so long for the order of the second F-16 eight, and that the profession experienced on the Russian side will encourage them to buy the F-16 earlier.
Bulgaria wants to sell MiG-29s and buy another F-16 fighter jet
Bulgarian Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov said that it is planned to sell MiG-29 fighters after arming F-16 Block 70 multi-role aircraft as we reported on June 9.
The declaration was made on June 4 during a meeting of the finance committee of the Bulgarian parliament. Minister Karakachanov stated that when 8 new machines were commissioned, there would be no need to maintain the entire current fleet of MiG-29 aircraft and some of them could be sold.
This is important because MiGi-29 has been serviced for years in Russia for rates inadequate to the quality of the machines but also the timeliness and quality of parts delivery, which often arrived late and their documentation was incomplete. That is why it was decided to service them in Belarus.
Bulgaria theoretically has 14 MiG-29 fighters in service today. Why theoretically? Because it is realistically suitable to fly a maximum of half of them and there are no more than two aircraft in the ready state. The rest are cannibalized to keep them in the air.
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