SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 19, By Boyko Nikolov (Bm), Photo: Pixabay.com
During the mandate of caretaker government of Ognyan Gerdzhikov, the commission appointed to choose new supplier of military aircrafts for the Bulgarian air forces adopted a decision. Few days later the newly elected parliament and government took up their duties and returned the project in the very beginning.
Boyko Borisov launched the statement
“I have certain doubts that “Gripen” are the best fighter aircrafts”
and the President Radev stated that
“MIG 29 do not conform to the modern requirements”.
Due to some problems the Bulgarian MIG aircrafts were landed in order to be repaired and our Italian partners were invited to guard the Bulgarian sky. At the same time our military pilots refused to fly on the outdated Russian aircrafts and this way we remain without any “adequate” air force protection. The government adopted an urgent decision to grant BGN 20 million for the repairing of the available MIG-29 aircrafts and the Ministry of Defense opened a public procurement procedure with the same subject to the value of BGN 80 million. Simultaneously, the Minister of Defense Karakachanov stated that in addition to the current participants he will invite Boeing with its F-18 Super Hornet for participation in the tender.
The President tested personally Dassault Rafale in France and was fascinated by the flight, he was forced to answer a journalist`s question “Is Bulgaria able to purchase such an aircraft?”.
Minister Karakachanov is a little confused, because he has established that according to the Bulgarian legislation in force, amendments to documentation under public procurement procedures referring to the military industry whose value exceed BGN 100 million shall be approved by the Parliament, which applies also to the participants in the procedure. This automatically returns the procedure to its starting position and in order to re-open it Mr. Karakachanov shall present a new investment project before the Parliament.
And one particular detail – the initial sum of BGN 1.5 billion is decreased with BGN 300 million due to amendments of the law in the last year, currently the law envisages that military projects shall be charged with 20% VAT.
My personal opinion is that this choice of new fighter aircrafts will serve as an indicator of the political effectiveness of the government for the future. What this indicator shows now? I don`t dare to say!
Bulgaria Will Pay the First Instalment for Repair of the MiG-29s. The Atlantic Council Disputes the Signed Contract
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.
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.
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.
Israel Will Enter the Competition for Bulgarian New Fighters
SOFIA (Bulgaria), March 19, 2018, Author: Galina Zdravkova (Bm), Photo by Wikipedia
According to the said by the Minister of Defence Krasimir Karakachanov on Monday (March 19, 2018), Israel will be invited to participate in the competition for selection of a supplier of new fighters for the Bulgarian Army, reported mediapool.bg.
Karakachanov further explained that it will be requested from Israel an offer for a new modification of the F-16 Block 30 aircrafts, which is a much better option than the offered by Portugal and France fighters. The Minister also reminded that the large projects for modernization of the Bulgarian Army shall be again reviewed by the Council of Ministers and commented that they will not become more expensive if delayed.
It shall be also reminded that the initial procedure for selection of a supplier of new fighters was almost completed when irregularities were found after a parliamentary examination. After that the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had the option of requesting new offers from the existing shortlisted candidates – SAAB (Sweden) for new Gripens, the USA and Portugal for used F-16 fighters, and Italy for used Eurofighters, but as of the moment the MoD is considering another option of expanding the range of possible offers to the maximum.
Despite all statements by the Minister of Defence, however, the Government of Bulgaria has not shown yet firm intention of purchasing new fighters instead of overhauling the old Russian MiG-29 jets.
Bulgaria Considering Boeing Super Hornets to Complement MiG-29s
The Bulgarian Air Force will look into buying Boeing F-18 Super Hornets following a review of competitors Saab, Lockheed Martin, and the consortium of European companies that make the Eurofighter Typhoon, reported Sputniknews.com
Bulgarian Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said on Bulgarian radio Monday that the ministry will send requests for proposals to the above defense manufacturers by the end of November. The country plans to add eight new aircraft. In addition to the F-18, the Bulgarian Air Force is eyeing the F-16, the JAS-39 Gripen and the Typhoon as part of a fleet growth program. One of the fighters is expected to emerge victorious by July 2018, Defense News reports.
Bulgaria’s MiG-29s have actively participated in NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense System since 2004, when the Balkan nation joined NATO. Last November, the Aviationist reported that Rumen Radev, then-president elect of Bulgaria, who was sworn in in January, was an active MiG-29 pilot during his time with the Bulgarian Air Force despite being a high-ranking commander.
Source: Novinite.com | Photo: WHPuxin.com
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