SOFIA ($1=1.95 Bulgarian Levs) — Bulgaria’s caretaker authorities has determined to buy eight further Lockheed F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jets. On this means, Bulgaria may have a full squadron of 16 fighters of the identical class. BulgarianMilitary.com recollects that on the finish of 2019, the Bulgarian authorities paid for eight F-16 Block 70/72 fighters, that are already in manufacturing.

F-16 Block 70/72 fighter jet
Picture credit score: Greek Air Power

The brand new batch of eight fighters can even be armed with air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles. “Air-to-surface, air-to-air strike capabilities are additionally included within the venture. I.e. we may have a full squadron of 16 plane. The plane are anticipated to reach in 2027,” Bulgarian Protection Minister Dimitar Stoyanov introduced in an announcement.

The acquisition of the second eight fighters already acquired the approval of the US Protection Safety Cooperation Company [DSCA] and Congress in April of this 12 months, as we reported again then. In accordance with DSCA, the utmost potential quantity of the deal is $1.673 billion. Nevertheless, Stoyanov introduced yesterday [September 21] that the worth of the acquisition is inside $1.3 billion.

In accordance with Bulgarian analysts, the order for the second eight fighters is a type of alternative for the Russian MiG-29s, which “some assume” might be despatched to Ukraine. Such a declare was denied again in April by John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman who mentioned: “the sale couldn’t be topic to such alternative.”

The primary eight fighters paid for in 2019 embrace 4 F-16 Block 70 fighters, 4 F-16 Block 72 fighters, 11 F100-GE-129D engines, 11 Improved Programmable Show Mills [iPDG], 11 AN / APG-83 Lively Electronically Scanned Array [AESA] Scalable Agile Beam Radars (SABR), 11 LN-260 or equal Embedded International Positioning System [GPS] Inertial Navigation Methods [INS] [EGI] with Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module [SAASM] and Exact Positioning Service [PPS ], numerous varieties of missiles, bombs, and associated tools.

In accordance with the most recent info from Lockheed Martin, the primary eight F-16s ought to start their deployment in Bulgaria in 2026.

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