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Dec 11, 2017 14:10 EEST
December 11 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's defence ministry has invited Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG to sign a framework agreement for the maintenance of MiG-29 fighter jets worth up to 81.3 million levs ($49 million/ 41.5 million euro), according to a notice published on the website of the Public Procurement Agency.
The project calls for integrated logistics support of 15 fighters of the Bulgarian Air Force (12 MiG-29A and and three trainers MiG-29 UB), for a period of four years supporting a total of 1,450 flight hours per year, the notice reads.
The company must guarantee that at least 66.6% of the fighters will be constantly airworthy within the specified total annual number of flight hours.
Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG is manufacturer of the MiG-29s and the sole owner of the licences for their maintenance, the notice reads.
Last year, the Bulgarian government approved spending of 70 million levs under the defence ministry's 2016 budget for the overhaul of the old MiG-29 fighter aircraft. The funds were provided for in the 2016 central government budget. Also last year, the defence ministry awarded a 42.7 million levs contract to Sofia-based Aviostart for the supply of 10 engines for the MiG-29 jets.
In December 2016, the defence ministry sent a request for proposals (RFP) to Italy, Portugal and the United States, and Sweden for the procurement of a new type of combat aircraft to replace the Air Force's ageing fleet of Russian-made MiGs. Bulgaria received offers for new Gripen jets from Sweden’s SAAB, used F-16 from Portugal, equipped with US weaponry, and used Eurofighter Typhoon from Italy.
In April 2017, the working group in charge of assessing the offers appointed by the defence ministry ranked the Swedish offer at the top. In September, however, an ad-hoc parliamentary commitee, set up to supervise the selection process, recommended to relaunch the procedure, saying one of the participants had been unfairly disqualified from the race which preventing proper evaluation of all submitted bids.
In 2014, at the NATO summit in Wales, Bulgaria committed to a defence spending target of 2% of GDP, to be reached in the following 10 years.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)
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