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Bulgaria selects Saab's Gripen to replace aging MiG-29 fighter jets

World Defense & Security News - Bulgaria
Bulgaria selects Saab's Gripen to replace aging MiG-29 fighter jets
According to the local newspaper iNews, Bulgaria selected the JAS 39 Gripen fighter jet to replace an aged fleet of MiG-29 aircraft. The Bulgarian governement announced today to open talks with Saab for the purchase eight fighter jets in a deal estimated to be worth about $836 million.
Bulgaria selects Saab s Gripen to replace aging MiG 29 fighter jets 640 001Saab JAS 39C Gripen fighter jet
(Credit: Saab/KALM)
Last year Bulgaria issued a RFP to purchase eight aircraft from 2018 to 2021. Sofia chose the Swedish proposal in preference to an offer from Portugal of secondhand U.S. F-16 Fighting Falcon jets and an offer from Italy of secondhand Eurofighter Typhoon fighters.

However, the decision is not binding, and the next cabinet will decide how to lead these negotiations through a new working group, which should be formed next week.

Bulgaria eyes new combat aircraft acquisition for a long time. However, even if the decision and the start of the procedure have been delayed for more than 10 years, "The government does not want to stop the acquisition process a new multi-purpose fighter," said Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister Stefan Yanev.

A second phase, which would be launched in 2022-2023, will include the purchase of eight more fighters.