SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 26 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria has sent request for proposals (RFP) for the supply of up to 16 new or used multipurpose fighter jets to seven countries, the defence ministry told SeeNews on Thursday.
The country has invited the United States, Portugal, France, Germany, Israel, Italy and Sweden, to submit their offers until October 1, a defence ministry press officer told SeeNews by phone.
Bulgaria expects to receive proposals for the supply of new or used F-16 and F/A-18 Super Hornet jets from the United States, Dassault Rafale from France and Gripen C/D from Sweden, as well as new Eurofighter 3 Tranche jets from Germany and used F-16 from Portugal and Israel. Italy was invited to offer used Eurofighter Tranche 1 fighter jets.
In June, Bulgaria’s parliament approved a plan for the acquisition of NATO-compatible combat aircraft, to replace the ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 jets of the country's Air Force. According to the plan, the aircraft will be purchased in two stages.
The first stage of the project envisages the purchase of no less than eight aircraft for a total of some 1.8 billion levs ($1.1 billion/ 920.3 million euro). The first stage also envisages the providing of integrated logistics support for a three-year period, training services and training equipment, as well as ground support equipment.
In 2016, Bulgaria launched a tender for acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft but in September 2017 the ad-hoc parliamentary committee set up to supervise the selection process, recommended to relaunch the procedure, saying one of the participants in the tender had been unfairly disqualified from the race.
NATO said earlier this month it expects Bulgaria's defence spending to rise to 1.56% of the country's GDP in 2018, from an estimated 1.27% in 2017. Bulgaria's defence spending amounted to 1.26% of GDP in 2016. At the NATO summit in Wales in 2014, Bulgaria committed to a defence spending target of 2% of GDP, to be reached in the following 10 years.
(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)