The United States has approved a proposed multibillion-dollar sale of the Lockheed Martin-built fighter jets to the NATO partner.
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The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has announced the approval of a proposed US$1.67 billion ($2.2 billion) request from Bulgaria to purchase four F-16 C Block 70 and four F-16 D Block 70 aircraft.
The proposed deal would also include the supply of:
- Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) or equivalent missiles;
- AIM-9X Block II missiles;
- F100-GE-129D engines; and
- AN/APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Scalable Agile Beam Radars (SABR).
If finalised, US contractor representatives will be assigned to Bulgaria for approximately 36 months to support secure storage requirements of critically controlled assets and provide on-site contractor logistics support.
In a statement, the DSCA said the deal would enable the Bulgarian Air Force to deploy modern fighter aircraft “routinely in the Black Sea region” as it grapples with security risks from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
“The acquisition of these aircraft would provide Bulgaria a NATO interoperable platform and allow the Bulgarian Air Force to operate more frequently alongside other regional F-16 operators, promoting common doctrine and operations,” the DSCA stated.
“Bulgaria has shown a commitment to modernising its armed forces and will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft and services into its armed forces.”
This is the latest proposed military sale from the US to a NATO member.
The State Department recently approved a possible sale of Tomahawk Weapon System (TWS) Follow-On Support and related equipment for the UK.
The deal, worth approximately US$368.5 million ($490.5 million), includes the provision of the All Up Round (AUR), Tactical Tomahawk Weapon Control System (TTWCS) and Theater Mission Planning Center (TMPC).
A potential US$950 million ($1.3 billion) order for eight Sikorsky-built MH-60R Seahawk helicopters from the government of Spain was also approved last month.
[Related: US approves MH-60R Seahawk sale to Spain]