The Bulgarian Air Force, which has long fought to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-era fighter aircraft, has finally received approval to look for a new fighter. A two-part plan should lead to the acquisition of 16 new aircraft to replace the current MiG-29 and Su-25 fleets. The first eight aircraft could be delivered from 2018-2020, with a further eight by 2023.
Several options are on the table…
• F-16A/B MLU from Portugal (the option Romania has chosen).
• Ex-USAF F-16s, then upgraded in Portugal by OGMA.
• Surplus Italian Eurofighters.
• Brand new Saab Gripens. Saab has said that despite the advent of the new Gripen E (rollout planned for May 18) production of the C/D variant remains an option.
A full report on Bulgaria’s Su-25s appears in the forthcoming May issue of Combat Aircraft.