Nov 29, 2014

Bulgaria will not buy new jet fighters before 2017

The saga of Bulgaria’s long-delayed purchase of new military jet fighters to meet Nato requirements is set to continue unresolved for a few more years because the state will give no investment loans or state guarantees for large projects before 2017.
This has emerged from a transcript of the Bulgarian cabinet’s November 26 meeting, at which Prime Minister and his ministers agreed only to support a project to construction a gas interconnector link with Greece.
The cabinet declined for now to give financial support to two major projects, the Defence Ministry’s 800 million leva modernisation project and the Regional Development Ministry’s plan to repair and modernise the road network, which has a price tag of about 300 million leva. Both would require a state loan.
Bulgaria joined Nato in 2004 and committed to having eight multi-purpose jet fighters at Nato’s disposal by 2016. Four should be available for operations and four to guard Bulgarian airspace, part of the alliance’s integrated air defence system.
Bulgaria still is using Soviet-era Russian MiG aircraft, incompatible with the needs of Nato and which pose huge problems in maintenance and because of the need to bring in spare parts from Russia.
Should the fighters not be replaced, Turkey and Romania, also both Nato members, would have to continue to assist in guarding Bulgarian airspace.

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