The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has issued a Request for Proposal to acquire 16 fighter jets to replace the ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 jets of the country's Air Force.
The MoD has called for bids to supply aircraft from United States, Portugal, Israel, Italy, Germany, France and Sweden.
The necessity of acquiring a new type of airplane for the Air Force of the Republic of Bulgaria stems from the deepening contradiction between the important tasks in the national and collective security system on the one hand and the aging and oncoming aviation technique and the outlined serious deficit of abilities on the other, the MoD said in a statement Wednesday.
The obsolete airplane fleet further prevents the introduction of important EU Regulations and Directives and national plans and programs for the implementation of key infrastructure, transport and communication projects in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian National Assembly committee on finance and budget cleared $1.08 billion for the procurement of 16 fighter jets in June this year.
Bulgaria launched a tender for acquisition of a new fighter aircraft to replace ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets in 2016. 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.
The interim government had approved a ranking of the jet supply bids, which put the Swedish Gripen fighter jets offer first, followed by an offer from Portugal of second-hand US F-16s equipped with US weaponry. An offer from Italy of second-hand Eurofigher Typhoon fighters was ranked third in the initial bid process.
However, in September 2017, the ad-hoc parliamentary committee set up to supervise the selection process, recommended to relaunch the procedure as one of the participants in the tender had been unfairly disqualified from the race.