Additional order for eight Bulgarian Air Force F-16 fighters approved 24 сеп 2022 | 11:55 views (2472) commentaries(0)
Source: Scramble

During the Bulgarian Governments meeting on 21 September 2022 the purchase of a second batch of eight F-16 Block 70 multi-role fighters for the Bulgarski Voenno Vzdushni Sili (BVVS, Bulgarian Air Force) was approved. This batch consists of four F-16C block 70 and four F-16D block 70 Fighting Falcons and also includes related weaponry.

Defense minister Dimitar Stoyanov announced that the total value of this deal is USD 1,3 billion. He also indicated that the aircraft of this second batch are expected to be delivered in 2027.

In April 2020, Lockheed Martin was awarded a contract for the first batch of eight F-16 fighters, six F-16C and two F-16D models. So in total, the BVVS will receive ten F-16C and six F-16D fighters. The first F-16 deliveries are expected to be in 2025 with Initial Operational Capability (IOC) in 2026.

Upon the arrival of the F-16s, the infrastructure of Graf Ignatievo air base must be reconstructed. On 21 september 2022 the command and staff of Graf Ignatievo air base successfully carried out the rebasing of all serviceable MiG-29s, maintenance and special equipment to Plovdiv Airport. The same evening the first air policing mission was flown by MiG-29s. Also two L-39s are based at Plovdiv Airport for training purposes.

The MiG-29s are expected to be operational till mid-2023 and if Poland supplies RD-33 engines they’ll fly to the end of 2023. So it’s very likely that the MiGs won’t ever fly again from Graf Ignatievo due to the fact that the renovation probably won’t be finished by then. For the renovation of Graf Ignatievo air base, that started immediately after the rebasing, a total amount of BGN 362 million has been reserved.

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