Sofia-based independent news Sofiaglobe reported that Bulgaria will try to sell some of its Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets when the US-made F-16s the country is acquiring in a $1.2 billion deal arrive. Currently, the country has about 14, and is spending huge sums on overhauling the ageing fighters, still used to patrol its air space pending the arrival of the F-16s. Bulgaria has had the Russian-made MiG-29s in service for more than 30 years.
Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $1.67 Billion contract for F-16 Block 70 production for the Republic of Bulgaria. This contract provides for the production of eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft, a US DoD release said. This contract award is 100% funded via foreign military sales (FMS) to the Republic of Bulgaria and is the result of a Bulgarian country-conducted competition. Work will be completed in Ft. Worth, Texas; and Greenville, South Carolina, and is expected to be completed by Jan. 31, 2027.
The F-16 Block 70 features technologies developed for the 5th Generation F-35 Lightning II and F-22 Raptor fighters yet provides a proven, capable, low-risk and cost effective solution for Bulgaria’s national and NATO defense needs. While the F-16 name stays the same, the latest-generation Block 70 is a totally different jet – part of a total solution package that will provide Bulgaria with one of the most advanced and capable fighter aircraft in service with NATO in Europe.
The F-16 Block 70 combines capability upgrades, most notably the advanced Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar with a new avionics architecture, and structural upgrades to extend the structural life of the aircraft by more than 50 percent beyond that of previous production F-16 aircraft. Operational capabilities are enhanced through an advanced datalink, targeting pod and weapons; precision GPS navigation, and the life-saving Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System (Auto GCAS).