Bulgaria’s Radev urges Lockheed Martin to cooperate, switch tech after F-16 deal – EURACTIV.com


President Rumen Radev has requested US firm Lockheed Martin to begin industrial cooperation and know-how switch programmes in order that Bulgaria can totally use the F-16 fighter jets it bought as a part of its military modernisation pledge.

Bulgaria has bought 16 F-16 Block 70/72 fighters for about $2.2 billion – the biggest army funding for the reason that collapse of the Warsaw Pact – to switch its small and ageing MiG-29 fleet for which solely seven to eight plane can be utilized concurrently. Half the planes have already been paid for, the remaining will probably be paid for in instalments.

“The acquisition of defence tools is a crucial stage within the technique of modernisation of our armed forces, however to be of full worth, it have to be accompanied by industrial cooperation and know-how switch,” stated Radev throughout a gathering with representatives of the US firm in Sofia on Tuesday.

However the supply of the primary F-16s is scheduled for 2025 as a result of a two-year manufacturing delay that precipitated fairly a stir in Bulgaria, the place sturdy pro-Russian sentiments stay.

The manufacturing delay can be problematic for the air power, provided that the present MiG fleet is anticipated to now not be useable from mid-2023, nearly leaving the nation with out airspace safety till the primary F-16s are delivered in 2025.

In the meanwhile, six Spanish Eurofighter fighter jets are serving to to guard Bulgarian airspace, which is vital to NATO’s japanese flank due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In the meantime, Radev additionally instructed Lockheed Martin that he expects the corporate to ship the jets on time and create situations for the restore and upkeep of the F-16 in Bulgaria, which can optimise the defence assets invested by the nation, in addition to the alternatives for the event of recent defence applied sciences.

Throughout the dialog, the president additionally requested Lockheed Martin for a partnership within the manufacturing of fight drones.

(Krassen Nikolov | EURACTIV.bg)

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