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Bulgaria will lease F-16s
until new ones arrive

Written by The Frontier Post

SOFIA (TASS): Bulgaria intends to borrow F-16 aircraft to ensure the protection of its airspace until the new F-16s of the Block 70 version are received, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov announced this at the beginning of a government meeting on Thursday.
“We are making great progress in finding replacement aircraft for the F-16s, which will be a temporary replacement for new aircraft, the delivery of which to Bulgaria is delayed. We have received [US] support that our skies must be protected,” Petkov said, noting that the main work on the search for replacement aircraft is carried out by the country’s Ministry of Defense.
In 2019, Sofia signed a contract with the United States for the supply of eight upgraded F-16s of the Block 70 version, making an advance payment of $ 1.26 billion for this. This allowed Bulgaria to immediately raise defense spending in 2019 above the 2% of GDP, which the US insisted on. and NATO.
This decision caused active approval in Brussels and Washington. The US pledged to start delivering the aircraft in 2023, but earlier this year the US notified Bulgaria that the start of the contract would be delayed until 2025 “due to supply chain disruptions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.” This delay caused a certain tension in the Bulgarian Air Force, since the working life of the MiG-29 aircraft in service is running out, and their full repair is almost impossible.
Serial production of the F-16 fighter has been going on since 1976, during which time the aircraft has had many modifications.

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