President Radev: "Modernization and Development of Defence Capabilities Still Face Challenges"

Румен Радев - Българска армия - годишна конференция
Photo: БТА

117 MILITARY - DEFENCE - PRESIDENT - CONFERENCE

President Radev: "Modernization and Development
of Defence Capabilities
Still Face Challenges"


Sofia, February 7 (BTA) - After familiarizing himself with the annual analysis of the preparedness, good order and discipline of the Bulgarian Armed Forces, President and Supreme Commander-in-Chief Rumen Radev told reporters that modernization and the development of modern defence capabilities still face challenges. The President participated in Day Two of the Annual Conference of the Chief of Defence in Sofia.

Radev commented: "These are complex processes which require very close co-ordination between military expertise and politicians. We have seen the effect of rough and incompetent interference by politicians in some clearly regulated processes."

Talking about projects for the modernization of the Armed Forces, the President said: "We see what has become of projects [other than the acquisition of F-16 fighter jets], no one is talking about patrol ships or armoured vehicles, and all those projects were to be negotiated together." He argued that nothing is clear about the financing of the two projects - for two patrol ships for the Navy and 150 armoured vehicles for the Land Forces - after "the aircraft-related financial adventure brought upon us by politicians".

Radev has repeatedly stated that the selection of Lockheed Martin as the supplier of a new multirole fighter was untransparent.

"I expect the new, albeit delayed, Strategic Defence Review to cast light upon the planning processes and the balance between challenges, tasks, resources and people," Radev said. He highlighted the importance of the pursuit of modern full-fledged combat training and of the other modernization projects, which are to ensure the mobility, compatibility and operation in a single information space of all elements of the defence system.

Presenting the annual analysis at the conference, the Chief of Defence, Gen. Andrey Botsev, said that regardless of the difficulties, the main planned activities were completed and the results were positive.

The presentation of the analysis of the preparedness, good order and discipline of the Bulgarian Armed Forces was attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov and senior officers.

Radev said the increase in the Armed Forces' understaffing had been reversed, and noted the numerous successful exercises and trainings and the good maintenance of the equipment and armament. However, the decrease in the Air Force's flight hours remained a problem in 2018, he said.

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Radev commented that Prime Minister Boyko Borissov made "a lame joke" when he said that the Air Force is chock-full of "escape equipment to make sure the General Staff and the powers-that-be can be quickly evacuated in case of war". Borissov made this statement at a meeting between the Government and business in late January.

The President said: "The Bulgarian Armed Forces have saved the State many times, while politicians have often failed it. Military officers now lack the self-confidence to react to this insult because they have been humiliated by politicians for years." He said he hoped the Prime Minister has good memories of the hundreds of hours spent aboard the Air Force's transport helicopters and aircraft."