US approves sale of 8 F-16 fighter jets to Bulgaria

The US State Department has approved the sale to Bulgaria of eight F-16 Viper fighter jets and associated equipment, weapons and training for an estimated $1.673 billion, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced on June 3.

China possible customer of Russian Sukhoi Su 57 stealth fighter jet F-16 Fighting Falcons (Picture source: US Air Force)

The proposed sale will contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve security of a NATO ally and a key democratic partner of the United States in ensuring peace and stability in this region.

The proposed sale will contribute to Bulgaria's capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States and NATO. These aircraft will provide Bulgaria with a fleet of modernized multi-role combat aircraft, ensuring that Bulgaria can effectively operate in hazardous areas and enhancing the Bulgarian Air Force's interoperability with U.S. as well as NATO forces.

Bulgaria currently relies on the United States and the United Kingdom to participate in joint air policing. By acquiring these F-16s and the associated sustainment and training package, Bulgaria will be able to provide for the defense of its own airspace and borders. Bulgaria will have no difficulty absorbing this aircraft and services into its armed forces.

The prime contractor will be Lockheed Corporation.