Bulgarian Government has postponed the decision on projects to acquire fighter jets and armoured infantry vehicles and will discuss it in the regular weekly meeting on May 16.
Earlier discussion on May 9 was halted because of the absence of Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov, who was out of the country and was expected to return on May 11, Sofia Globe.
The projects involve the acquisition of 16 fighter jets and 150 combat vehicles for the land forces.
The decision to put the projects to the Cabinet was taken at a meeting of the Defence Council on April 5.
The proposal is to allocate 1.5 billion leva, excluding value-added tax, for the acquisition of 16 fighter aircraft in two stages of eight each. The proposed financial allocation is also to cover ground-handling equipment, training of personnel, initial integrated logistics support for a period of three years, and armaments, a Bulgarian government statement said at the time.
The military vehicles projects envisages the spending of 1.22 bilion leva, without VAT, for vehicles, systems, additional equipment and training for three battalion groups.
In early 2017, the caretaker cabinet of the time made a step towards progress in the fighter jet acquisition process, when it was presented with a report that rated the bid by Sweden’s Saab for Gripen fighters as the best. However, amid political manoeuvring, matters went back to square one and the process is being re-started again.
At the previous stage, bids to supply the aircraft were received from Saab, and from Italy, to supply second-hand Eurofighters, and from Portugal, to supply second-hand F-16s. More recently, Karakachanov has hinted at the possibility of getting second-hand F-16s from Israel.