site.btaDefence Minister: BGN 6 to 8 Bln Needed for Armed Forces Modernization
Between BGN 6 billion and 8 billion need to be spent on the modernization of the Bulgarian armed force, caretaker Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov said on bTV Thursday afternoon.
In his words, the second batch of eight F-16 fighters will cost approximately USD 1.3 billion. Stoyanov said he had proposed that the validity of the offer be extended until December 15 because a new National Assembly will have to be constituted after the October 2 early parliamentary elections.
The public expenditure on the procurement of the fighters has to be approved by Parliament.
"Unless we take this batch, we will not have enough aircraft even for a squadron," the Defence Minister said. "That is why I prioritize the modernization of the Bulgarian armed forces. The Bulgarian armed forces must be modern and strong," he added.
Stoyanov said that the residual service life of Bulgaria's fighter aviation allows minimum flight training until the summer of 2023, after which it will have to be grounded and will be unable to fulfil its constitutional duties.
The Defence Minister argued that Bulgarian military equipment dates from the 1980s and some of it is even older, which opens a huge technological abyss between us and our allies. "This abyss cannot be expected to be filled by allied commitments only," he pointed out.
According to Stoyanov, the Bulgarian armed forces cannot afford to provide heavy armament to Ukraine because Bulgaria does not have enough to guarantee its national security, albeit in an allied format. He was referring to the MiG-29 and Su-25 aircraft and the anti-aircraft missile systems.