Bulgaria could stop negotiations for F-16 and target Eurofighter or Gripen

Bulgaria stop negotiations F-16
Bulgaria could stop negotiations for F-16 and switch to Eurofighter or Gripen.

Bulgaria could stop negotiations with the United States for Lockheed Martin F-16V (or Block 70/72) fighters and evaluate the aircraft offered by Italy and Sweden, according to Bulgarian Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov.

Although the American aerospace giant seemed to have a clear advantage over other competitors, it will have to contend again with the Eurofighter Tranche 1 offered by Leonardo and the Gripen offered by Saab.

The Bulgarian Air Force aims to replace its 30-year-old MiG-29 fleet with a western fighter plane.

Karakachanov said on NOVA network television that the price proposed by the United States for F-16s is unreasonably higher than expected. According to the Minister, the agreement includes high costs for unnecessary services.

"An example is about language learning: the pilots we sent [in US] have already attended language courses and have been trained in the United States, does it make sense that we pay again for formal language training?," he said.

At the same time he would like to pay for the aircraft with tranche and non-lump sum amounts so as not to put soldiers' salaries at risk.

Former Defense Minister Nikolay Nenchev expressed doubts as to whether Bulgaria wants to buy American jets. "The negotiations were destined to fail from the beginning," Nenchev said.

Written by Matteo Sanzani
Image: Lockheed Martin

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