New Fighter Decision Left to Next Bulgarian Government

Bulgarian Former Defence Minister: Caretaker Cabinet Left It to Next Government to Decide on Negotiations on Fighter Jet Acquisition (excerpt)

The Ognyan Gerdzhikov caretaker cabinet only “validated” the ranking of bids to supply new jet fighters to the Bulgarian Air Force, and left it to the next government to decide with whom to negotiate, former interim Defence Minister Stefan Yanev said.

Yanev, who is now security and defence secretary in President Roumen Radev’s office, was referring to proceedings at an April 26 meeting of the Gerdzhikov caretaker cabinet, which examined an interdepartmental committee’s report on three bids to supply new multi-role fighter jets to Bulgaria.

The military expertise did not determine the political talks that could be held afterwards, Yanev said in a June 26 interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television.

“Let’s first tell our viewers that there is no deal with the Gripen,” he said, referring to Sweden’s proposal to supply newly-made-to-order fighters, widely reported to have been ranked by the interdepartmental working group as the best bid.

“The government has not yet begun talks with the three potential companies and countries that offer to provide such a type of aircraft as the Bulgarian Air Force needs. The decision taken by the caretaker government is far from determining what the procedure here is,” Yanev said.

He said that the decision taken by the caretaker cabinet merely “validated” the military expertise, doing so on the basis of a decision by the National Assembly in June 2016.

That decision by Parliament set out a road map for calling for tenders to supply the aircraft.

The deadline for issuing what is formally termed a “Request for Proposals” was December 13, 2016, and the deadline for responses was March 13, though this latter deadline was extended by three weeks at the request of one of the three bidders. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the Sofia Globe website.

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