The US State Department has approved a possible Foreign Military Sale to Bulgaria of F-16C/D Block 70/72 aircraft with weapons, communications systems and support for an estimated cost of $1.673 billion.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale on May 30, 2019, a press release said.
This does not mean the deal has gone through. Saab Gripen is also in the race for the Bulgarian contract and earlier reports said the Swedish has an edge on price over the F-16.
The Government of Bulgaria has requested to buy eight (8) F-16 C/D Block 70/72 aircraft; ten (10) F110 General Electric engines; ten (10) Link-16 Multi-Functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) - JTRS (MIDS-JTRS); nine (9) Improved Program Display Generators (iPDG); nine (9) AN/APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars; four (4) AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Targeting Pods; nine (9) Modular Mission Computers (MMC) 7000AH; nine (9) LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (EGI); nine (9) M61 Vulcan 20mm Cannons; sixteen (16) AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); one AIM-120C7 Spare Guidance Section; twenty-four (24) AIM-9X Sidewinder Missiles; eight (8) AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); four (4) AIM-9X Spare Tactical Guidance Sections; four (4) AIM-9X Spare CATM Guidance Sections; forty-eight (48) LAU-129 Multi-Purpose Launchers; fifteen (15) GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II Kits; fifteen (15) GBU-54 Laser JDAM Kits; twenty-eight (28) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB-1); twenty-four (24) FMU-152 Fuzes; twenty-four (24) MK-82 Bombs (Tritonal) and six (6) MK82 Bombs (Inert).
Also included are nine (9) AN/ALQ-211 Internal Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites; nine (9) AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispensers; 4,140 Infrared Flare countermeasures, with impulse cartridges; 8,250 each of PGU-27A/B 20mm training and combat munitions; thirty-six (36) MK-124 Signal/Smoke Illumination devices; nine (9) APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) units with Secure Communications and Cryptographic Appliques; eighteen (18) AN/ARC-238 UHF/VHF SATURN Radios; twenty (20) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) II with Night Vision Goggle compatibility; ten (10) Night Vision Devices; two (2) Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER), Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP) support.
These aircraft will ensure that Bulgaria can effectively operate in hazardous areas and enhancing the Bulgarian Air Force's interoperability with US as well as NATO forces.
Bulgaria currently relies on the United States and the United Kingdom to participate in joint air policing. By acquiring these F-16s and the associated sustainment and training package, Bulgaria will be able to provide for the defense of its own airspace and borders.
The prime contractor will be Lockheed Corporation, Bethesda, Maryland. There are no known offset agreements proposed in connection with this potential sale.
Bulgaria is likely to halt negotiations with the US and remove Lockheed Martins F-16 Block 70 jet from the countrys fighter jet procurement plan, to sway the deal in the favour of Eurofighter Typhoon or Saabs Gripen, owing to the high price of the American jet. The Bulgarian Air Force wants to acquire 8 fighters to replace its ageing Russian Mikoyan MiG-29 fighters with a western jet
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