Bulgaria has received an offer for the delivery of a second batch of eight F-16 fighter aircraft from the U.S. and must decide by November 1 whether to accept it, outgoing Defense Minister Dragomir Zakov said, as quoted by state news agency BTA.
The value of the new offer is similar to the first one made in 2019, which involves the purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets and related equipment, but the new one provides a larger set of capabilities, BTA quoted Zakov as saying on Tuesday, following a hearing before the parliamentary budget commission.
In April, the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DFCA) said that the State Department approved the potential sale to Bulgaria of four F-16 C Block 70 fighter aircraft and four F-16 D Block 70 fighter together with related equipment for an estimated price of up to $1.673 billion (1.63 billion euro).
The new offer allows for payments to be made in installments, Zakov said. He added that the first F-16 from the first batch are expected to be delivered in the first quarter of 2025.
In 2019, Bulgaria paid $1.2 billion in full under its first contract for the purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from the U.S.
Bulgaria should have a full squadron of F-16 Block 70 aircraft in 2027, or by 2028 at the latest, BTA quoted Zakov as saying.