8 more F-16 Block 70/72s for Bulgaria, it’s no MiG-29 replacement

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WASHINGTON — The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency [DSCA] has approved a possible sale of eight F-16 Block 70/72 fighters to the Bulgarian government and has notified Congress about it, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing a press release from DSCA. The maximum price that DSCA determines for Bulgaria to pay is $ 1.673 billion.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Journalists asked Pentagon spokesman John Kirby on Monday (April 3rd) if the sale was a kind of replacement for the Bulgarian MiG-29s, which could be sent to the Ukrainian Air Force, but Kirby said “the sale could not be subject to such replacement.”

The same was confirmed during the visit of the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Bulgaria on March 19, when the Prime Minister of Bulgaria Kiril Petkov replied that any dispatch of arms aid to Ukraine must be approved by the Bulgarian Parliament. “But since we are so close to the conflict, I must say that at the moment we will not be able to send military aid to Ukraine,” Petkov was quoted as saying at the time.

However, the Bulgarian parliament will vote on a proposal to send weapons to Ukraine, which came from Democratic Bulgaria – part of the quadruple ruling coalition, and part of Bulgaria’s cabinet.

Photo credit: Wikipedia

BulgarianMilitary.com reminds us that Bulgaria has already ordered eight F-16 Block 70/72 fighters and expects the first two units to arrive on Bulgarian territory next year.

What did Bulgaria order?

For a maximum price of $ 1.673 billion, Bulgaria ordered four F-16 Block 70 fighters, four F-16 Block 72 fighters, 11 F100-GE-129D engines, 11 Improved Programmable Display Generators [iPDG], 11 AN / APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] Scalable Agile Beam Radars (SABR), 11 LN-260 or equivalent Embedded Global Positioning System [GPS] Inertial Navigation Systems [INS] [EGI] with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module [SAASM] and Precise Positioning Service [PPS], various types of missiles, bombs, and related equipment.

This proposed sale will support the United States’ foreign and national security goals by helping to improve the security of a NATO ally that is a force for political stability and economic progress in Europe.

AESA radar of F-18 Super Hornet | Photo credit: Wikipedia

The proposed sale will improve Bulgaria’s ability to meet current and future threats by allowing the Bulgarian Air Force to deploy routinely modern fighters in the Black Sea region.

The production and delivery of the 8 fighters and all the equipment to them, accessories, and integration actions will be carried out within the next 36 months, which means that Bulgaria will receive these 8 fighters somewhere around 2026.


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