F-16V Delivery Delayed Until 2024, Bulgaria Returns to Flying MiG-29


The first F-16V
The first F-16V

Bulgaria - Delivery of Lockheed Martin's F-16 Viper (Block 70/72) to the Bulgarian Air Force has been delayed until 2024 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This was conveyed by the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense in a statement.

Previously, the Bulgarian government had signed a contract for the purchase of 8 F-16Vs with Lockheed Martin in April 2019. The contract states that the first aircraft will be produced from April 2020. The contract also stipulates the possible delivery of the next eight F-16s if the delivery of the first aircraft is on time.

On 20 August 2021, Bulgaria announced the purchase of an additional eight more F-16Vs to meet the requirement for a squadron of 16 aircraft. With this plan, Sofia will retire 14 MiG-29s made in the Soviet Union.

However, with the delay in the delivery of the F-16V to Bulgaria, the Southeast European country inevitably has to revive its MiG-29 fleet to maintain its airspace sovereignty.

This is important, because according to the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense, the country is facing violations by foreign aircraft, especially Russian warplanes.

Prior to this, Bulgaria had intended to sell MiG-29s to buy more F-16s. The intention to sell the Fulcrum fleet was sparked by the then Bulgarian Minister of Defense Krassimir Karakachanov in October 2020.

The sale will not be carried out all at once but will be sold partially once the eight F-16s have been received. With the fact that Lockheed Martin's F-16 Viper has been delayed, Bulgaria inevitably has to reactivate the retired MiG-29 fleet.

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