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Bulgaria’s Strategic Aircraft Exchange: MiG-29 Fighters Sought in Return for US and Allied Aircraft

The Bulgarian Air Force currently operates 16 operational MiG-29 fighters. Recent reports in the media suggested that the Balkan nation might offer these Soviet aircraft to Ukraine at no cost.

However, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry has denied these claims. Here’s What We Know Indeed, Bulgaria is prepared to transfer its MiG-29 fighters to the Ukrainian Air Force, but it is not a free arrangement.

In exchange, Bulgaria expects to receive Western aircraft from the United States and its allies; otherwise, it would be left without fighters for a duration of two years. It is worth mentioning that out of the 16 aircraft in service with the Bulgarian Air Force, only six are currently operational.

This is a consequence of the sanctions imposed on Russia, which prevent Bulgaria from acquiring Russian spare parts to maintain and repair their fighters. In the autumn of 2022, the Bulgarian government approved the acquisition of upgraded F-16s in the Block 70/72 (Viper) configuration.

This marked the second contract with Lockheed Martin, following the initial agreement signed in 2020. Although the planes were initially scheduled for delivery in 2023, the US company recently announced a delay, and the fighters will now be delivered in 2025.

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