Bulgaria's much anticipated fighter jets purchase will likely come to a disappointing end as the Bulgarian Defense Ministry has decided to buy expensive third-hand F-16s from Portugal, according to the Bulgarian press.
Bulgaria's government is thus expected to pay BGN 700 M for nine F-16s Block 15 to Portugal even though in 1999 Portugal paid twice less – BGN 268 M – to the US government for 25 second-hand F-16 planes, the Bulgarian daily Sega reported Thursday.
The Bulgarian Air Force is thus expected to get "third-hand" planes for a much higher price, the daily concludes, noting that the board numbers of the second-hand Portuguese F-16s were published at http://f-16.net, and the 9 planes destined for Bulgaria are from among the 25 planes that Portugal bought from the USA 13 years ago.
Shortly before New Year's Gen. Rumen Radev who is in charge of the working group of the Bulgarian Defense Ministry for the purchase of the jet fighters for the Bulgarian Air Force noted that the offers covering Bulgaria's requirements for the deal include new planes from Swedish producer Gripen, second-hand Eurofighters from Italy, and second-hand F-16s from Portugal.
Radev told the Presa daily that the Portuguese deal was the best option because it included everything necessary for the operation of the planes, while Gripen and Italy offered only the planes without arms and with only the most basic land equipment for their operation.
According to Radev, even though the second-hand fighter jets from Portugal are already 30-years-old, they can be used for 25 more years. (end of excerpt)
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