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Bulgarian parl endorses deal for purchase of eight F-16 jets

Bulgarian parl endorses deal for purchase of eight F-16 jets Author: Lockheed Martin; License: All rights reserved.

SOFIA (Bulgaria), July 19 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's parliament on Friday ratified a deal with the U.S. worth a total of $1.256 billion (1.117 billion euro) for the purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and their maintenance, it said.

A total of 123 members of parliament voted in favour of the deal, 78 were against and two abstained from voting, parliament said in a notice posted on its website.

The deal envisages the delivery of six single-seat F-16 jets and two two-seat aircrafts used for training, as well as supply of munitions for the jets, Sidewinder AIM 9Х Block II missiles, and a multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS), the defence ministry said earlier this month after the government gave the go-ahead to the deal. 

Bulgaria expects to receive a $60 million price discount from the US subject to approval by the US Congress, the ministry said at the time. 

Earlier this month, Bulgaria's government said that it has lifted the budget deficit target for 2019 by 1.829 billion levs to 2.228 billion levs in order to finance the purchase of fighter jets. The budget revision is pending approval by parliament.

Last year, Bulgaria's request for proposals for delivery of up to 16 jets to replace the ageing fleet of Russian-made combat aircraft attracted offers from the U.S., Sweden and Italy. The U.S. offered to supply new F-16 or F-18 jets, Saab offered to supply new Gripen C/D fighters, while Italy offered used Eurofighter aircraft.

($ = 0.8899 euro)