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Author Topic: Bulgarian Air Force  (Read 6424 times)

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Bulgarian Air Force
« on: July 28, 2005, 02:31:50 PM »
Looks like there is hope again that Bulgaria will continue to fly the MiG-29 for some years to come. Earlier negotiations with RSK MiG ceased with only six aircraft upgraded to a limited extend. Unfortunately in other countries we have seen the MiG-29 being phased out in favour of less expensive MiG-21s, for example Romania and earlier the Czech republic. It looked like Bulgaria was on the same road.

Quote
New Deal To Service 14 MiG-29s in the Offing

A new deal supposed to make operational the MiG-29 fighter aircraft squadron
has been negotiated by Bulgarian Air Force experts with the Russian RSK MiG
Company, this paper has learned from sources in the Bulgarian Air Force
headquarters.

Following three months of negotiations, an overhaul of 14 aircraft out of a
total of 20 has been agreed upon. It will increase their service time by 10
years with a flying resource of 800 hours. The contract is to be completed
within three years and its cost is estimated at approximately $45 million.

The Air Force has altogether given up the idea of bringing the MiG aircraft
up to NATO standards despite the fact that this project is among the 11
priority programs for modernization of the Bulgarian Army. They were adopted
by Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha┬╣s government on 27 May 2004. The reasoning is
that the procedure for choosing a replacement Western fighter plane for the
Bulgarian Air Force should be over by 2007, and the deal will be given a go
by that time.

The problem is that until then the Bulgarian Air Force should have operat-
ional aircraft to fulfil its so-called air police commitments to NATO. Two
fighter planes from the Graf Ignatievo Air Base have been at round-the-clock
disposal of NATO since 2004. They are to be airborne in case of hijacking
attacks or enemy intrusion. Six MiG-29s are being used at the moment. They
were modernized at the RSK MiG in the summer of 2004. However, their
reconstruction warranty expires in September 2005. Apart from them, the Air
Force has 10 operational MiG-21s whose service time will be over in 2007.
Therefore, the deal on the MiG-29s reconstruction will be among the primary
concerns of the new government.

In March 2002, the Defense Ministry signed a contract with the RSK MiG
company for modernization of 20 MiG-29s in NATO standards. The Russians
carried out the reconstruction of just six aircraft and following a year of
vain promises for cooperation with the Thales company of France the contract
was cancelled by Defense Minister Nikolay Svinarov without any forfeits for
the Russian party.

Via Touchdown-News, Original Report by Vasil Lyutskanov (Published on 18th July, 2005 in Bulgarian).

In addition to this news, three ex-Bulgarian Su-25 seem to be destined for Georgia, which is also buying the ex-Macedonian examples.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2005, 02:41:03 PM by Webmaster »
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Re: Bulgarian Air Force
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2005, 03:32:50 PM »
Quote
Bulgarian military eyes pricey U.S. jets

Bulgaria has requested price and availability information for Boeing-made 16
F/A-18E/F Super Hornets, marking the first time a foreign government has
officially expressed interest in the fighter, a U.S. navy official has told
news outfit InsideDefense.com.
The price of the future deal, the biggest of 11 projects for the
modernisation of Bulgaria's army approved by the outgoing government, could
reach $1 bln.
Bulgaria's defence ministry sent a letter, dated June 30, to the U.S.
embassy in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, requesting the information, the
official said. The Navy received the letter last week. While other countries
have inquired about the Super Hornet, this is the first 'letter of request.'
Before the Navy can respond to Bulgaria's letter of request, the State
Department and U.S. European Command must assess the country's military
needs, said InsideDefense.com.
Several U.S. agencies -- including the Defense and State departments as well
as Congress -- must approve sales of U.S. weaponry to other countries.
In addition to the Super Hornets, the letter also requests price and
availability information for 12 used F-5s, which are flown as training
aircraft and are no longer in production. Logistics and support information
was requested too, the navy official told InsideDefense.com.
The information was confirmed for Dnevnik by deputy defence minister Ilko
Dimitrov who is charge of the modernisation of Bulgaria's armed forces.
Bulgaria's interest in the Super Hornet is especially surprising given that
more NATO countries fly F-16s than F/A-18s, Richard Aboulafia, a Teal Group
analyst, told InsideDefense.com. Countries interested in the Super Hornet
typically fly legacy Hornets or want to develop closer ties to the U.S.
Navy, he added. But Bulgaria does not fly Hornets and probably will not see
many U.S. warships operating in the Black Sea, he was quoted as saying.
Military experts said the Hornets will likely be deployed by Bulgaria to
police the Black Sea region which is one of NATO's external frontiers.
The new fighter jets will replace Bulgaria's MiG-29s after efforts to
upgrade the Soviet-era fleet to NATO standards failed a year ago.
Lockheed Martin and Sweden's Gripen were jockeying for the fighter jet
contract and were holding back their lobbying efforts until a new Bulgarian
government is sworn in. But the interest of the defence ministry towards the
Boeing jets seems to have predetermined the outcome from the procurement
procedure.
Sending out the 'letter of request' was just a time-buying tactic to see if
another attempt to upgrade the MiG-29s could be made, said former deputy
defence minister Velizar Shalamanov. The F-18 buzz is meant to push out of
the picture F-16, Gripen or other more realistic options and to reinforce
the leading role that the chief of staff has in the procurement procedures
related to the military modernisation, said Shalamanov.

Via Touchdown-News, no original source stated

Dr. Velizar Shalamanov is probably right that they try to keep the competition hot while they look for ways to upgrade and maintain their MiG-29s, in favour of a more costly NATO-advised acquisition or lease of Western fighters.
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