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UPDATE 1 - Bulgarian govt asks parl to endorse buy of new fighter jets, armoured vehicles

Author Mario Tanev
UPDATE 1 - Bulgarian govt asks parl to endorse buy of new fighter jets, armoured vehicles Author: Peter Gronemann Licence: Creative Commons

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 16 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's government said on Wednesday it decided to ask parliament to approve the expenses related to the planned acquisition of a total of 16 fighter jets in two stages and 150 armoured vehicles.

The first stage of the project for the purchase of fighter jets envisages the acquisition of no less than eight aircraft for a total of some 1.8 billion levs ($1.1 billion/ 920.3 million euro), which have already been provided for in the state budget, the government said in a statement following a weekly session.

The first stage also envisages the providing of integrated logistics support for a three-year period, training and training equipment, as well as ground support equipment.

In 2016, Bulgaria launched a tender for acquisition of a new type of combat aircraft to replace the ageing fleet of Russian-made MiG-29 fighter jets of the country's Air Force. However, 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.

The estimated value of the project for acquisition of 150 combat vehicles is 1.46 billion levs, according to the statement.

The project also provides for the supply of specialised equipment for three army battalions and additional equipment, as well as carrying out the necessary training. The time frame for implementation of the project is 12 years, the government said.

The main objective of the proposed acquisition of armoured vehicles is to meet NATO standards and to build national industrial capacity to support the life cycle of the acquired equipment and weapons, the defence ministry said earlier.

(1 euro = 1.95583 levs)