US formally delivers F-16 offer to Bulgaria

On Monday, the US Office of Defence Cooperation in Bulgaria formally delivered to the Ministry of Defence a Letter of Offer and Acceptance encompassing a potential agreement on the acquisition by Bulgaria of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter aircraft, weapons systems, associated long-term sustainment and support systems, comprehensive training for pilots and support personnel, the US Embassy in Sofia said in an official statement.

“The US Embassy takes this opportunity to commend the Bulgarian military and financial expert delegation who ensured that the Letter of Offer and Acceptance is comprehensively tailored to best meet the requirements of the Bulgarian Air Force. The United States looks forward to finalizing this contract with the Government of Bulgaria in accordance with Bulgarian procedural requirements,” the statement reads.

In mid-January, Bulgaria's Parliament mandated the Government to negotiate with the US on the acquisition of eight F-16 fighter aircraft. The budget for the purchase was initially capped at BGN 1,500 million before VAT, but the legislature subsequently lifted that restriction.

On June 4, the US Congress approved Bulgaria's acquisition of a complete package of eight fully equipped jets, all additional aircraft systems as well as future upgrades and newly introduced weapon systems worth a total of USD 1,673 million (BGN 2,925 million). Back then, the US Embassy specified that this is not the final price. The programme's actual final cost will be based on final Bulgarian requirements.

The receipt of the Letter of Offer and Acceptance will be followed by final negotiations between the two sides, the Embassy explained. At that stage, the Bulgarian Government may re-scope or re-define the requirements before arriving at the ultimate cost.

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