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Bulgaria Govt, Opposition Clash over Fighter Jets

Bulgaria Govt, Opposition Clash over Fighter Jets

The majority of Bulgaria’s MPs on Thursday approved a report that recommends the revision of the procurement procedure for new fighter jets, alleging that there have been violations in the past.

MPs from the ruling centre-right party GERB of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov also indirectly accused President Rumen Radev of corruption.

The report, which was initially adopted by a parliamentary commission of inquiry in September, listed a number of problems with the key military project, including the rejection, with no legal basis, of a joint offer from the US and Portugal to sell Bulgaria used F-16 fighter jets.

According to the commission, in July 2016, the managing board of the project imposed additional requirements on the contractors in violation of the investment plan that had already been adopted, which led to the automatic rejection of the US-Portuguese consortium.

At the time, the chairman of the board was Radev, who is the former commander-in-chief of the Bulgarian air force.

Parliament’s decision orders the Defence Ministry to revise the procurement procedure, which would further delay the modernisation of the country’s underdeveloped air force, which currently uses Russian MIG-29s.

The issue caused fierce debates among MPs on Thursday.

Anton Todorov, a member of GERB, indirectly accused Radev of taking bribes to choose an offer from Swedish company Saab Gripen over the US-Portuguese offer of secondhand F-16s and the Italian offer of secondhand Eurofighter Typhoons.

MPs from the opposition Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, which backed Radev’s presidential nomination in 2016, accused the GERB MPs of trying to undermine the president.
What you are doing, regardless of how you are trying to cover it, is a war against the presidential institution, the BSP’s leader Korneliya Ninova told GERB.
Radev said the tensions over the modernisation of the army were the result of a GERB offensive against him, promising on Monday that

“if they seek it a battle, they will get it”

In one of its last sessions in April, the former caretaker government of Ognyan Gerdjikov, appointed by President Radev, selected the Gripens as most suitable for the needs of the Bulgarian armed forces.

Radev has repeatedly called for a speedy acquisition of the Swedish jets, as the former cabinet decided.

Borissov, however, has changed his mind over the plans for army modernisation several times, despite the fact that Bulgaria is lagging behind its NATO commitment to defence spending of at least two per cent of the state’s GDP.

On September 18, Borissov expressed doubts that the caretaker government’s choice of fighter jets is the best for the army and suggested that the country might first acquire new equipment for its land forces.

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Bulgarian Military News

Crashed WW II Military Aircraft Found Near a Bulgarian Village

Crashed WW II Military Aircraft Found Near a Bulgarian Village

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 18, 2018, Author: Bm News Team, Photo: Bulgarian Air Force

On 18th May 2018, the Bulgarian Air Force announced on their website further information in relation to the unique operation for dragging out the remains of a crashed WW II military aircraft, found accidentally during routine draining works within а swampy terrain near the village of Maritsa, Bulgaria.

The operation has started on 11th May 2018 and will continue till the task is completed. It is being performed with the joint efforts of the Bulgarian Air Force and Land Forces, the Military Police Service and the Military Medical Academy, as well as with the coordination activities on behalf of the Joint Forces Command

After orders of the Defence Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, and the Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force, Major General Tsanko Stoykov, a working group led by Colonel Kalin Tsenov are continuing the works on the recovery of the found military aircraft, which, as of the moment, is considered to be Messerschmitt Bf 109G-6 – a German World War II fighter aircraft.

Crashed WW II Military Aircraft Found Near a Bulgarian Village

Messerschmitt Bf 109, Photo credit: Wikipedia

It is a very important finding for Bulgaria, because the found fighter appears to be the “biggest physical trace of the heroism of the Bulgarian fighter-pilot, who have given their lives defending the Bulgarian sky during the World War II,” stated from the Bulgarian Air Force.

As of the moment, it has been discovered the following aircraft parts, which are considered to be of impotance: an engine Db 605, a propeller hub, barrel of a 20 mm MG 151/20 weapon, approximately 150 aircraft catridges and links, and various units and parts of the aircraft, bearing authentic factory numbers.

All gathered parts will be handed over to the National Museum of Military History, where they will be prepared for exhibiting to the public. The aircraft and its engine were identified with the help of lovers of aviation history.

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Bulgarian Military News

The Ministers of Defence of the EU Member States Meet in Sofia

The Ministers of Defence of the EU Member States Meet in Sofia

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 4, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova (Bm), Photo: eu2018bg.bg  

The Ministers of Defence of the EU member states meet in Sofia, announced from the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence.

The two-day Informal Meeting starts today, 4th May 2018, and is part of the official calendar of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting will be hosted by the Minister of Defence, Krasimir Karakachanov and besides the EU Defence Ministers, representatives of the United Nations, NATO, the European Commission, the European Union Military Committee, the EU Military Staff, and other EU authorities will be also attendants.

Some of the topics that will be discussed are the major activities of the European Defence Agency, the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), the Action Plan on military mobility, and the perspectives for crisis management.

Within the Informal Meeting it will be also held a session of the European Defence Agency.

On Friday, 4th May, the Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy /Vice-President of the European Commission Federica Mogherini will welcome officially the Heads of the Delegations at Boyana Residence at 7:30pm, after which a photo of the participants in the Informal Meeting will be taken at 8:10pm.

On Saturday, 5th May, at 7:30am, the Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov will welcome the Heads of the delegations in the National Palace of Culture (Entrance A6). After the working sessions, there will be a press conference, hold by the Minister of Defence of Bulgaria, Krasimir Karakachanov, and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, at Hall 6 of the National Palace of Culture, starting at 12.15pm (noon).

The access to Boyana Residence and the National Palace of Culture for the above mentioned activities will be allowed only to accredited representatives of the media.

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Bulgarian Military News

Bulgaria Will Pay the First Instalment for Repair of the MiG-29s. The Atlantic Council Disputes the Signed Contract

Bulgaria has decided to repair the MiGs for € 40 mln.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 25, 2018, Author: Boyko Nikolov (Bm), Photo: Airgroup 2000

Today, at a regular meeting of the Council of Ministers, the Republic of Bulgaria approved the payment of the first instalment of BGN 26 million for repair of the Bulgarian MiG-29s.

The money is foreseen in the budget of the Ministry of Defence for repair of the aircrafts in question in accordance with the signed agreement between the Bulgarian country and the Russian company RSK MiG.

In its entirety, the financing in question should provide Bulgaria with execution of the undertaken engagements for air defence and implementation of the NATO’s collective defence mechanisms and the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) of the European Union.

Today it became clear that the contract with the Russian Federation is being disputed by the Atlantic Club. In accordance with the Organization whose members are lots of military specialists and other experts, there are particular texts that are in favour of the Russians. For example, it is left to RSK MiG to define what the deadlines for execution of the activities under the contracts will be, regardless of the priorities of the Ministry of Defence.
Aviation experts, including the president Rumen Radev, disputed the scope of the order by indicating that the purchase of new machinery shall be considered as a priority.

It shall be reminded that the agreement itself is worth the total amount of BGN 82 million and was offered in the end of last year when the Ukrainian company UKROboronProm referred to the Commission for Protection of Competition and tried to stop the procedure on awarding of the public procurement.

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Bulgarian Military News

No Bulgarian Service Members Injured in Kabul Bombing

No Bulgarian Service Members Injured in Kabul Bombing

SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 23, 2018, Text: BM News Team, Photo: REUTERS/Omar Sobhani

No Bulgarian service members were injured on Sunday, 22nd April 2018, in the explosion in the Afghan capital Kabul. This was said by the National Commander of the 35th Rotating Bulgarian Military Contingent in Afghanistan – Colonel Georgi Margitin, reported the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).

The explosion took place at quite big distance from the base where the Bulgarian service members are deployed in support of the NATO’s Resolute Support mission.

Since the start of the registration process on 14th April for elections scheduled for October in Afghanistan, this is the first attack in Kabul against a voter registration centre, outside which a bomber blew himself up on Sunday, 22nd April. At least 57 people were killed and 119 were injured, but the total numbers would probably rise. Nearby cars and buildings were also destroyed.

Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).

A month ago on 21st March there was another attack in Kabul. The victims then were over 30, and the injured people – at least 70. The responsibility for the attack then was also claimed by the Islamic State.

The attack on 22nd April is reported to be the deadliest attack in Kabul since January when 100 people were killed by explosives hidden in an ambulance.

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