SOFIA ($1=1.99 Bulgarian Levs) — Bulgaria is looking for fighter jets for hire to take over combat duty in the coming years. The reason: MiG-29s can no longer be repaired, because of the situation in Ukraine and because of the fighters’ long-exceeded life cycle. F-16 fighters are the preferred option.
- Stealthy F-35s in Bulgaria due to tensions in the region
- Bulgaria buys eight more Lockheed’s F-16 Block 70/72 fighters
- Bulgaria refused to send weapons to Ukraine, incl heavy weapons
A similar position was expressed by the Chief of the General Staff of the Bulgarian Army, Admiral Emil Eftimov, during a radio interview with the Bulgarian National Radio on November 16. According to Admiral Eftimov, it is best for Bulgaria to look for fighter jets for rent for the next three years, and if possible, they should be Lockheed Martin F-16s.
There are two reasons for such a request: Bulgaria is expecting the first delivery of eight F-16 fighter jets from the USA, which should arrive in the period 2024-2026. The second reason is that there are already trained Bulgarian pilots to fly the F-16. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that a few days ago Bulgaria sent an inquiry to the USA for the order of the second set of F-16 fighter jets.
Admiral Eftimov announced that Sofia has already sent letters of request to partner countries for the lease of “excess” F-16 fighter jets from their air forces. The Bulgarian senior officer announced that at the moment there is no response from any partner country, but he did not want to say which countries have received such a letter.
Bulgaria currently operates mainly two types of combat aircraft – MiG-29 fighters [12 units] and Su-25 attack aircraft [13 units]. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that, according to Spanish sources, Bulgaria provided through third parties its Su-25 to Ukraine, delivered in parts.
Although there is no officially confirmed information that Bulgaria has supplied weapons to Ukraine, including Su-25 attack fighters, the Pentagon has announced that Ukraine has Su-25s provided “by a foreign country”. That statement came in April of this year, with a Pentagon spokesman declining to name the donor country. But it was clear from John Kirby’s speech that the donor country is a NATO member state.
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