Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov’s Cabinet has approved an 81 million leva project to overhaul eight MiG-29 fighter jets and a 99 million leva project to overhaul Su-25 fighter-bombers, a government statement on November 28 said.
The move, involving proposed spending of more than 183 million leva (about 93.5 million euro) on overhauling the Bulgarian Air Force’s ageing Soviet-made combat aircraft comes as a process to choose a modern Nato-standard fighter jet is pending.
The government statement said that the investment project to ensure the airworthiness of the MiG-29s was directly related to Bulgaria carrying out its air policing tasks as part of Nato duties.
“The implementation of the project is directly dependent on the implementation of the project to acquire a new type of combat aircraft and is of paramount importance both for the national security and defence of the country and for the implementation of the Nato collective defence mechanisms and the common security and defence of the EU,” the statement said.
Ensuring the airworthiness of the MiG-29 aircraft will allow the retention of defence capabilities in the period up to the acquisition of the new type of combat aircraft and in the transit period towards its operational readiness, according to Bulgaria’s government.
The government also approved additional costs for the budget of the Ministry of Defence for 2018, amounting to 45 739 959 leva, for concluding contracts for the airworthiness of MiG-29 aircraft under a framework agreement with Russia’s AO “RSK” MiG. These funds would come through restructuring in the national budget.
The statement said that the funds necessary for ensuring the airworthiness of the Su-25s were up to about 99 million leva with VAT and 82.5 million leva without VAT.
It put forward a similar argument, that the overhauls were necessary pending the new fighter jets coming into operation.
The government also approved additional costs of up to 82.5 million leva in the Defence Ministry budget to conclude the Su-25 airworthiness restoration contract. This too would come from restructuring in the national budget, the statement said.