Bulgarian working group has completed the analysis on offers for the supply of new combat aircraft to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG fighter aircraft.
The working group set up by the defence ministry and led by Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Tsanko Stoykov has analysed and assessed the offers and will submit its conclusions to the government which is to make a decision on the next step in the procurement procedure, the defence ministry said in a statement Monday.
Sweden, Italy and Portugal have submitted to Bulgaria their commercial offers on deliveries of eight fighter jets to partially replace aging fleet of Russian-made MiG aircraft, the ministry said.
"The final announcement of the results of the tender will be made after their adoption by the Council of Ministers, which will award a negotiation mandate," the ministry added.
According to reports, the working group will be choosing between new Gripen jets from Sweden's SAAB and US F-16, which were in service in Portugal. Eurofighter Typhoon fighters from Italy are another option for procurement. The first stage of the project envisages the signing of an intergovernmental agreement for the acquisition of 8 aircraft in the 2018-2020 periods.
To ensure transparency and continuity in the process, the caretaker government is ready to submit to parliament the results of the assessment made by the working group.
The investment project for the acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft by Bulgaria to replace its ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG fighter aircraft was approved on 1 April 2016 by the minority coalition government led by centre-right GERB party.
In November 2016, the GERB-led coalition government resigned following the loss of the GERB candidate in the presidential elections, a caretaker cabinet was appointed and early parliamentary elections were held in March 2017. GERB won the vote but fell short of absolute majority. A new coalition government led by GERB is expected to be formed in early May.