New contracts to speed up delivery of F-16 to Bulgaria

After the deal with US is concluded the first jet fighter will come to Bulgaria by end-2022

James Robinson

The fact that Morocco and another Asian country bid for the latest generation F-16 Block 70 to renovate their combat air force will speed up the implementation of the plans to start the manufacture of new jet fighters for Bulgaria and the delivery of the first aircraft to be in end-2022, Lockheed Martin reported quoting James Robinson, International Business Development Senior Manager for F-16 at the manufacturing company.

As is known, the contracts for the new generation aircraft, world’s most successful multirole fighter, have already been concluded by Slovakia and Bahrein while Greece wants to upgrade 85 of its Viper aircraft which have the same characteristics but cannot boast F-16’s lifespan of 12,000 hours. At the same time Poland also ponders upgrading of its current aircraft fleet, Romania eyes purchasing more planes while Croatia re-assesses the needs of its national combat air force. Two weeks prior to the opening of the plant in Greenville, South Carolina, where the machines will be assembled, Robinson explained that although the recent contracts will put a strain on the company the new production line is already capable of boosting its capacity to meet the customers’ requirements.

According to James Robinson, misinformation has been spread, often by people who were not immediately involved in the negotiations, about our capability to deliver the new F-16 Block 70 aircraft within the time framework that meets the needs of the Bulgarian Air Force. He also assured that there will be no delay of delivery after the talks between Bulgaria and US are successfully completed and the deal is concluded. Robinson added that the aircraft for Bahrein, Slovakia and Bulgaria will be the first to be manufactured at the new facility in Greenville. “If we admit that the agreement is signed this summer we are planning to start the training of the Bulgarian pilots and ground personnel in the US no later than 2021 and will deliver the first F-16 to Bulgaria before the beginning of 2023,” Robinson said further.

Parallel with that, Lockheed Martin declares preparedness to build a base for maintenance, partial repair and overhaul for jet fighters (MRO facility) in Bulgaria. With this project the company will meet the requirement of the Bulgarian government that the aircraft be serviced in Bulgaria by local engineers and mechanics until their lifespan is exhausted. Other opportunities for partnership with the Bulgaria industry and possible participation of the local academic structures in the R&D programmes have also been discussed, the Company said.

Similar articles

  • Vivacom buys landline-based providers Net1, ComNet Sofia, N3

    Vivacom buys landline-based providers Net1, ComNet Sofia, N3

    Vivacom has finalised a series of deals to acquire 100% of the capital of landline-based internet and TV providers Net1, ComNet Sofia and N3 after securing approval from the relevant regulators. The acquisitions are part of the strategy of the company - now part of United Group, a leading telecommunications and media operator in Southeastern Europe - to expand its network of landline services for homes and businesses.

  • Bulgarian investor builds smart plant near Plovdiv

    Bulgarian investor builds smart plant near Plovdiv

    The construction of BGN 40 million production plant for aluminium profiles, the largest on the Balkans, has started in Trakia Economic Zone. Minister of Economy Lachezar Borisov presented a Class A investment certificate to Zdravko Linkin, chairman of the board of directors of Interlink Group AD. This happened on 31 March at the turning of the first sod of a high-tech plant for aluminium profiles in Maritsa Industrial Zone, which is part of Trakia Economic Zone.

  • Fitch raises Bulgaria's credit rating

    Fitch raises Bulgaria's credit rating

    The global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings raised from stable to positive the outlook over Bulgaria's Long-Term Foreign-Currency and Local-Currency credit rating. The country's BBB rating was affirmed. This was announced by the Ministry of Finance's press centre.