Nikolay Nenchev, Bulgarian Defence Minister, announced that the country is willing to acquire three new multi-role jets for the air force, according to the media reports. It is also planned that two vessels for the Bulgarian Navy are also going to be built.
According to 24chasa.bg, quoting the “Fokus” radio station, Nenchev announced that the fighter acquisition bill is being currently assessed by the Bulgarian parliament, with high chance of being accepted. Nenchev also recalled the fact that even though the quantity of jets to be procured is so small, this should be treated as a significant success, since before that the Bulgarian MPs questioned the air policing plans in general, should such operations be realized by the Bulgarian Air Force.
Bulgarian Ministry of Defence hopes that the parliament approves the presented proposal, in the course of the upcoming two months, which would make it possible to initiate the procurement procedure until the end of this year. Considering the fact that acquisition of just three airframes would not be cost-effective, e.g. within the framework of logistics, we could expect that procurement will mark a beginning of a larger programme, the goal of which would be to equip the air force with a larger number of new jets. Maybe, at the moment, the available funds are sufficient only to acquire only such number of the aircraft. Besides the above initiative, MiG-29 fighters overhauls and modernization programme is also going to be continued.
Currently, the Bulgarian Air Force uses fifteen MiG-29 and twelve Su-25K jets. However, majority of the aforementioned airframes is, as the available information suggests, not operationally capable. This is the main reason for the initiative, within which the Bulgarian Air Force is going to have its MiG-29 jets maintained in Poland (relevant works have already been started). The Polish facilities will also, most probably, assist the Bulgarians in implementation of a relevant modernization of the Fulcrums.
Nenchev also mentioned the plan to construct two combat ships at the Bulgarian shipbuilding companies. The vessels will be designed domestically. The programme funding is defined as BGN 800 million (ca. 410 million euros). Bulgarian Defence Minister did not reveal the date when the ship programme is going to begin. However, he made references to potential export intentions pertaining to the new ships that are being constructed in Bulgaria.