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Modernization of the Bulgarian Air Force – not Related to the Situation in Syria

Modernization of the Bulgarian Air Force – not Related to the Situation in Syria

SOFIA (Bulgaria), April 13, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova (Bm), Photo: Bulgarian MiG-29/Krasimir Grozev/wikipedia.org

The Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov stated in a talk show of the Bulgarian national television channel bTV on Thursday (12th April) that the current procurement initiatives for fighter jets are not related to the present situation in Syria.

Karakachanov said, “This is a Project from 2016, voted on 1 June 2016.”

The Defence Minister also reminded that when in 2016 the National Assembly voted the costs (BGN1.5 billion) concerning the project for purchasing of fighters, the amount was without VAT, because VAT was not due on such deals. Only 6 months later the Law was amended and VAT is now due on such deals. Therefore, in the project that will be now submitted for review, it shall be explicitly stated that the amount for purchase of the fighter jets is BGN1.5 billion without VAT. Another change will be the number of the purchased aircrafts. It will be specified that they are to be minimum 8, and not 8 or 9 as previously stated. The idea is more participants to be invited, so that the shortlist to be expanded with possible invitations to Boeing (for new F/A-18E/F Super Hornet), Israel (for used F-16 Block 30), and Lockheed Martin (for used and new aircrafts). In this way, when the participants are more, it would be possible an offer to be received for more than 8 aircrafts within the foreseen budget. The condition is the aircraft to be manufactured by a NATO or EU member state.

“We have to modernize our Armed Forces, because 90% of the armaments and machines are manufactured by the USSR before 1989,” explained the Defence Minister and added that the MiG-29s may be used 10-11 years more, for the purposes of which he has arranged signing of an agreement directly with the manufacturer for their maintenance. On 10th April, mediapool.bg reported that Krasimir Karakachanov also intends the old Su-25 single-seat, twin-engine jet aircrafts also to be repaired. The Bulgarian Air Forces have 14 Su-25s as of the moment, but only 4 are in operation. The idea of the Defence Minister is all 14 Su-25 aircrafts to be repaired and put into operation. He did not specify when and how that would happen.

In brief:
The Project for purchase of fighter jets for replacement of the old Bulgarian MiG-29s started in 2016 when Bulgaria’s parliament approved a plan in June to get eight new or second-hand fighter jets between 2018-2020.

In 2017, Bulgaria picked the Swedish offer in preference to the offer from Portugal of second-hand U.S. F-16s equipped with U.S. weaponry and an offer from Italy of second-hand Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

In the end of 2017, the Project was returned to the very beginning.

This year new participants are to be invited to the competition for selection of a supplier of new fighters for the Bulgarian Air Force, one of which is Israel.

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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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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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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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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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