Mar 7, 2015
Pakistan offers JF-17 Fighters to Bulgaria
The fighter is to be offered by Pakistan as an alternative to the several Western aircraft types that are all vying to be selected by Bulgaria as it looks to replace its ageing MiG-29 'Fulcrum' and Sukhoi Su-25 'Frogfoot' platforms.
No details pertaining to costs or potential delivery timelines were revealed.
The Bulgarian government has stated that it will choose to buy new or secondhand Western fighters, or commit to a further MiG-29 upgrade.
Contenders for secondhand jets include surplus Block 25 F-16s from the US Air National Guard, F-16 midlife upgrade aircraft from Belgium, early tranche Eurofighter Typhoons from the Italian Air Force, or surplus Saab Gripens from Sweden.
Although widely offered for export with countries such as Argentina, Serbia, and even Saudi Arabia, the JF-17 has yet to secure its first international customer.
While Bulgaria's economic situation would appear to make it a good candidate for the approximately USD30 million fighter (a comparable Western type would likely cost double this at least), its status as a NATO member would not.
As one of the alliance's newest members, Bulgaria is striving towards achieving full interoperability with its NATO partners, and indeed this is one of the primary reasons that it is looking to replace its Soviet-era MiGs and Sukhois. The JF-17 is not a NATO-compatible aircraft .