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Nov 13, 2007 14:00 EEST
SOFIA (Bulgaria), November 13 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria received on Tuesday the first of the five C27J Spartan military transport aircraft it will get under a 91 million euro ($132.8 million) deal with Alenia Aeronautica, a unit of Italy's Finmeccanica.
Bulgaria, which joined NATO in 2004, signed the deal in 2006 as part of ongoing modernisation of its armed forces.
“Bulgaria will receive one aircraft each year until 2011,” Bulgaria's Defence Minister Veselin Bliznakov told reporters.
The offset programme in the deal wth the Italian manufacturer amounts to 222 million euro, most of which is direct offset, and will be implemented in 10 years from now, Bliznakov said.
"The obligations under that programme include financing of the construction of a new hangar for aircraft maintenance, providing spare parts and training of personnel,” he added.
The indirect offset includes investments in Bulgaria by the Italian manufacturer and exports of software, industrial products and motorless aircraft. In the first part of the indirect offset programme Alenia Aeronautica has built a 5.0 million euro greenhouse for production of roses in the Black Sea city of Burgas and has started its programme MOSAIC, under which machine engineers will be trained at Alenia Aeronautica.
Bulgaria's government downsized in 2005 its plan for modernisation of the country's armed forces to three projects from the 11 unveiled in 2004. The three priority projects include the purchase of motor vehicles, helicopters and transport aircraft for the army, worth an estimated total of some 700 million euro.
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