Bulgaria plans to sign a contract with Poland to repair its MiG-29 fighter jets.
Bulgarian Defence Minister Nikolay Nenchev said on Thursday that nine of the country's nineteen MiG-29 fighter jets need repair.
The progress was being made towards the signing of the maintenance contract with Poland, where the engines are to be repaired, Nenchev added.
The terms and conditions of the Polish offer were much more favourable than the Russian one, the defence minister said for the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).
Nenchev stated that Poland offers to maintain each engine at a price, which is lower with US$6.8 lakh than the Russian one and there was also opportunity for payment in installments
As Bulgaria and Poland were NATO allies, the Polish companies will repair the jets at the same price at which they maintain their own aircraft.
Nenchev said that despite the problems of the jets, Bulgaria could safeguard its air space till the middle of next year and the goal was that until this time at least part of the airplanes will be fixed.
He pointed to another problem of the jets. Its avionics were incompatible with those of NATO and allies did not recognise the Bulgarian jets as allied aircraft.
Nenchev is in Varna to inspect the undergoing national naval exercise with international participation Sea Breeze 2015.
He stated that it was compulsory for the Bulgarian military to keep fit, to be a committed NATO ally and to deal with the contemporary challenges.
The minister said that the alliance never carried out unplanned drills and expressed hope that the naval exercise would not lead to worsening relations between NATO and Russia.
Meanwhile, a representative of the aircraft manufacturer RKS-MiG said that Poland does not have a licence to repair and extend the life of the engines of MiG-29 jets, Defense News reports.