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Bulgarian Military News

Defence Minister: Our Primary Concern is the Life of the Airmen

Defence Minister: Our Primary Concern is the Life of the Airmen

The main concern of the leadership of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Bulgarian Army is to ensure a good quality of life for the service members, decent pay and working conditions, and equipment of sufficient quality, so that the Armed Forces are able to fulfil their constitutionally assigned duties. This is what Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said to journalists today, October 24th, as regards training flights at Graf Ignatievo Airbase.

“Yes, the aviation does have problems and you know very well what our position is: we are going to undertake the task of simultaneously overhauling and modernizing the existing aircraft, and at the same we are going to proceed to purchasing a new type of fighter aircraft,”

said the Defence Minister.

He made it clear that at his meeting earlier today with Graf Ignatievo Airbase Commander Brig. Gen. Ivan Lalov and Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tsanko Stoykov, the issue of MiG-29 engines delivered under the Contract entered into by and between the MoD and Aviostart OOD in November 2016 was brought up.

“We want full respect of the obligations as per the contract signed, because our main concern is the life of the airmen. We cannot risk accepting some engines without full and accurate fulfilment of all contractual obligations, lest a fatal accident should happen. The army’s most valuable assets are its people,”

Minister Karakachanov asserted.

He pointed out that over the six months for which the current Government has been in power, he has been making efforts to solve the problems in the Armed Forces with regard to all three services. The new projects on the modernization of the Air Force, the Navy, and the Land Forces, as well the earmarking of 100 million Bulgarian lev to raise the pay of the service members are proof of the desire to motivate the personnel by decent salaries and new equipment which will enable them to improve their skills, thus enhancing the capabilities of the Bulgarian Army.

“I cannot accept allegations of strikes and turbulence. The Armed Forces are not a kindergarten and no one, be it within the Air Force or the other Armed Forces services, has ever considered such actions,”

declared Minister Karakachanov. He pointed out that the case would be exploited for political speculations but “what the Leadership of the Ministry of Defence will further is guaranteeing the airworthiness of the aircraft as human life is of first and foremost value.”

Brigadier General Ivan Lalov, Commander of 3rd Graf Ignatievo Airbase stated that he and his colleagues categorically distance themselves from words like “riot”. “The flight crews do not defy. The flight crew has the right, each one pilot, when they don’t feel confident in their ability to implement a task, to report to the commander and hold back from performing the mission. As we are carrying out training flights and are not in a state of war, it so happened that on that day the flight crew to take over the planned daily shift felt unable to perform the tasks, reported the situation and we cancelled flights. Such are the rules in aviation. Yet, service members take off and sometimes they don’t come back,” he added.

In his words, specifically Graf Ignatievo Airbase has many serious problems with the aviation equipment operability.

“To be able to train the pilots, we need sufficient number of airworthy assets, capable of performing regular flights and implementing their missions. Despite the few flight hours we avail of, the flight crews train and continue to be on Air Policing alerts and perform joint flights with their Italian colleagues,”

he emphasized.

Source: MoD | Photo: © MoD

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Bulgarian Military News

BDIA Organizes National Conference on Defence Industry

BDIA Organizes International Conference on Defence Industry

SOFIA, Bulgaria (, 20 September 2018, Editor: Boyko Nikolov, Photo credit: Sofia Photo Agency Archive

Today, 20th September, at the Central Military Club in Sofia, the Bulgarian Defence Industries Association organizes a national conference with international participation “Defence Industry – a leader of the innovations in Bulgaria”, learned

The conference is under the patronage of the Deputy Prime Minister for Public Order and Security and Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov. The Deputy Defence Minister Anatoliy Velichkov will also take part in it.

The conference is divided into three subject sessions, which are “The role of the European defence industrial development program for strengthening of the national and European defence capabilities” (session 1), “The capabilities of the Bulgarian defence technological industrial base for implementation of the investment project of the Ministry of Defence: Acquisition and maintenance of basic combat equipment for building of battalion battle groups of the mechanized brigade” (session 2) and “The zeal of young talents in support of the development of the economical foundations in security and defence” (session 3)

Besides the official part, at the conference, through reports, it will be presented the capabilities and potential of the Bulgarian defence industry by Mr Stefan Vodenicharov, as well as a report of the French company Safran, which will be represented by the Vice-President, International Development, Mr Olivier Lafaye.

Bulgarian companies in the field of defence industry will make their short presentations. These are Terem AD, Samel-90 AD, Arkus AD, Arsenal AD, Opticoelectron Group JSCo and OPTIX Co.

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Bulgarian Military News

Bulgarian Servicemen in Blue Bridge and Saber Junction 2018 Exercises

Bulgarian Servicemen in Blue Bridge and Saber Junction 2018 Exercises

SOFIA, Bulgaria (, 19 September 2018, Editor: Stanislava Georgieva, Photo credit: Sgt. Charles Johnston

On 18 September, the Bulgarian Air Force MiG-29 pair and the Romania’s supersonic jet fighter MiG-21 took part in the annual joint flying training „Blue Bridge – 2018”, conducted since 2012 between the Bulgarian and Romanian Air Forces, learned During the training, the fighter aircraft successfully completed all missions as well as Air Policing one, which involved the interception and the forced landing of an airplane flying without authorization through the airspace of both countries. This happened at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, and for the fulfilling of the flying tasks goals, in the role of “airplane-intruder” was involved and military transport aircraft C-27J Spartan, part of the inventory of the Romania’s Air Forces. The training included actual reception and transmission of crew management, done by the relevant national control centers. The annual Bulgarian-Romanian flight exercise, Blue Bridge – 2018, aims to improve the coordination and the interoperability between the Air Forces of the both countries, when carrying out cross-border operations on air traffic control and airspace security. It also improves the crew preparation in order to be trained to perform accurately coordinated in time and space flight tasks, in the airspace.

Meanwhile, the multinational exercise “Saber Junction – 2018” is currently taking place at the The Joint Multinational Readiness Center – Hohenfels in Germany. The training is held in the period from 13th to 28th September, with the participation of servicemen from Albania, Armenia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Latvia, Macedonia, USA, Ukraine and France. There, Bulgaria is represented by more than 90 servicemen of the 31st Mechanized Battalion based in Haskovo, which is part of the 2nd Mechanized Brigade, with deputy commander of the Battalion, Major Plamen Kirilov. During the training, the servicemen will improve their abilities in completing tasks during peacekeeping operations.

Read more: Eight NATO member countries will take part in the biggest exercise held in Novo Selo, Bulgaria

Read more: The Largest Training “Spring Storm 18” in the Black Sea with Bulgarian Participation

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Bulgarian Military News

F-16 Block 72 Known as Viper Has Been Offered to Bulgaria

F-16 Block 72 Known as Viper Has Been Offered to Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria (, 19 September 2018, Author: Boyko Nikolov, Photo credit: Pixabay

The U.S. concern and one of the biggest manufacturers of military equipment in the world – Lockheed Martin made its presentation on 18th Septemeber at Arena di Serdica Boutique Hotel in Sofia, and offered to the Bulgarian Government the purchase of the F-16 Block 72 fighter, known as Viper, learned

The event was organized by the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, the chairman of which is Dr. Solomon Passy and with the assistance of Mrs. Kalinka Kovacheva, who is a representative of Lockheed Martin for Bulgaria and Macedonia.

Read more: Bulgaria Cannot Influence the Expected Offers for a New Fighter for its Army

The senior manager at the U.S. company James Robins announced that the company is ready to offer to the Bulgarian Government systems, simulators and service till the end of their life cycle. We shall remind that the F-16 Block 72 fighter in question is fourth generation with renovated radar and information systems operating in real time, systems protecting the aircraft against crash on the land, systems following the life cycle of the pilot and saving him/her in case of loss of consciousness, as well as systems with big range of operation and accuracy of the firearms. The aircraft of 5th generation – F-22 and F-35 – are equipped with the same system integrations, which turn the F-16 Block 72 into an aircraft of 4+ generation.

F-16 Block 72 Known as Viper Has Been Offered to Bulgaria

James Robins – senior manager at Lockheed Martin | Photo by Tsvetelina Belutova – Dnevnik

Read more: Official: Bulgaria Will Request Bids for 5 Combat Aircrafts and Their Modifications

As of the moment, it has not been manufactured any aircraft of the latest version in question, but the U.S. Government has already managed to sign lots of sale contracts, and it shall be reminded that the Government of Bahrain has ordered 16 aircrafts of the same fighter.

“The discussion about the money will be between the governments,” were the words of Randy Howard, Director of the F-16 and F-22 Development Program at Lockheed Martin. In this way, he did not answer to the asked by a reporter of ‘Dnevnik’ question if the allotted by the Bulgarian Government money will be enough for the purchase of 8 combat fighters.

Pure mathematics on the base of the deal between the USA and Bahrain shows that the Government of Bahrain will pay US$ 145.5 million per an aircraft. This, however, shall not be a starting point for the Bulgarian expectations as the Kingdom of the Middle East has ordered 16 pieces of the combat fighter in question, as well as additional upgrade of the available 20 F-16s of the Royal Air Force of Bahrain.

Read more: Bahrain Expects New F-16s

“Realistically Bulgaria will not be able to produce parts for the Bulgarian fighters, but we are looking for ways for cooperation and will offer them. We do this all over the world,” said Randy Howard. learned that the U.S. company has invested significant financial resources in the building of a brand new factory for the production of the F-16 of new generation in question in South Carolina, the USA, and the it is suggested that that factory will ensure between 150 and 200 new jobs in Greenville, South Carolina.

The manufacturing of F-16 in the USA also maintains hundreds U.S. engineering and service private companies, and thousands of U.S. suppliers, located in 42 states in the USA.
We would like to remind that Bulgaria placed an inquiry for offers for the purchase of new combat aircraft to 7 countries as follows:

– From the USA we will expect brand new F-16 Block 60 or Block 70 and F/A–18E/F Super Hornet, as well as bids for the their used versions, but with their equivalent modifications;
– From Portugal we will expect a bid for used F-16 MLU OFP М6 (Third Party Transfer)
– From Israel we will expect bids for used F-16 C/D (Third Party Transfer) upgraded to the version OFP М6 (or such with equivalent capabilities)
– From Italy we will expect bids for used Eurofighter Tranche 1
– From Germany we will expect bids for brand new Eurofighter Tranche 3
– From France we will expect bids for brand new and used Dassault Rafale
– From Sweden we will expect bids for Gripen C/D and for used Gripen C/D upgraded to the current configuration in the NATO member states (Hungary and the Czech Republic)

It shall also be reminded that is the first media that has officially announced the complete technical parameters of all combat fighters, in which the Bulgarian Government is interested.

Read more: Technical information and unit prices of the five combat aircrafts for which Bulgaria will ask for offers

In accordance with the NATO membership of Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Air Force shall be compatible with and adapted to operate with the air forces of the North Atlantic Alliance and for that purpose Bulgaria has prepared Terms of Reference for the purchase of new combat aircrafts. Moreover, the available equipment is from the period of the Soviet Union and Bulgaria has at its disposal MiG-29 fighters, which must have been grounded and decommissioned from long ago.

About Lockheed Martin (U.S.)
An international company headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. It specializes in the areas of Aircraft, Energy , Maritime Systems , Missile Defense , Space , Training, Logistics & Sustainment, Weapon Systems. The company works with U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. federal government agencies and supply the U.S. armed forces with military and rotary-wing aircraft. Lockheed Martin has clients in Australia, Japan, Poland, Singapore, Turkey, U.K., United Arab Emirates, Italy, etc.

Who is Kalinka Kovacheva? Kalinka Kovacheva is an official representative of Lockheed Martin for Bulgaria and Macedonia. She was born in Bansko and is a computer engineer, a graduate of TU-Sofia. She was a Director, Corporate Relations, and an Executive Director of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria. She has participated in a leadership program of the U.S. State Department – International Visitor Leadership Program. Kovacheva is the only woman, who is a 96th degree Mason, consecrated in Israel. She is responsible for the Balkans and East Europe in lots of international Mason organizations.

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Defense Minister Karakachanov Greeted the Border Police and the Army for their Cooperation in the Protection of the Border

President and Minister Impressed by an Indigenous Product Sold Worldwide

Malko Tarnovo, Bulgaria (, 18 September 2018, Editor: Stanislava Georgieva, Photo: Boyko Nikolov

On 17 September, Defense Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, visited the area near Malko Tarnovo, near the Bulgarian-Turkish border in order to become familiar with the Special Forces work. There, the Bulgarian Special Forces demonstrated abilities in deterring an influx of illegal immigrants into the territory of the Republic of Bulgaria, in front of media and local authorities’ representatives, learned

Near the town of Malko Tarnovo, Karakachanov said to the media that the attention of the Border Police and the Bulgarian Army was not distracted even for a second from border guards, a mission defined by him as extremely serious. He expressed his pleasure with the good coordination between the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defense in caring out responsible tasks such as the border guard. He emphasized: “We are obliged to defend our country.”

According to his statement, the army will continue to support the Border Police at the border, till the latter needs assistance and while the Bulgarian society requires to be defended. Defense Minister also revealed the fact that, if there is a large influx of immigrants, the Border Police will be strengthen in means of additional 2,700 servicemen and about 500 units of equipment.

Karakachanov pointed out the need of more technical, night vision and personal protection equipment for the servicemen at the border. Talking on the subject, he informed about a future delivery of jeeps (SUVs) for border guards, funded by the European Union, expressing the hope for some of them to become part of the army’s inventory. Till now, the border guard tasks have been fulfilled by the army’s own equipment with the cost not taking into account the depreciation and the estimates not including, e.g. fuel and lubricants.

Minister Karakachanov announced the increasing in the number of the Special Forces and the establishment of a Special Operations Forces Command as well as a new special operations group under that Command that will be based in the region of the capital.
The Commander of the Special Forces, Brigadier General Yavor Mateev said that, there is an increased interest in his unit, lately. He also commented:

“Over the last two years we have signed up a significant number of servicemen. We have announced a competition for the last 28 vacancies that will end in December. People come to us, mostly because of their strong desire for service, for fulfilling their duty and of fatherland love, as well as for the good training.”

In a response to a journalist question concerning the interest in the military job, Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov rejected the concept that young people have no interest in military service. He attributes the matter to the fact that the job of the military is not revealed to people and pointed out as an example that the smallest shortfall is where military units and commanders popularize well what the army does.

Read more: Opticoelectron Equipped the New Automobiles of the Border Police

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