14:49 GMT26 September 2020
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    Earlier this month, the US approved the delivery of its F-16 fighters to Bulgaria at an indicated price of some $1.7 billion (more than 2.9 billion leva).

    Former Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy has said the country should consider buying two US-made F-35 fighter jets as talks on the purchase of F-16s are ongoing.

    "It's high time, we started to think of when we would begin to reinforce our military with next-generation aircraft - F-35", the ex-minister said last week, adding that the aircraft's main advantage is its ability to avoid detection by radar systems. 

    The official also urged people not to compare the situation around the purchase of F-16s with the deal reached by Slovakia, which managed to negotiate a cheaper per unit price tag with the US. According to Passy, Slovakia already had military deals with the US, thus the country agreed the acquisition on special trade conditions.

    On 3 June, the US approved the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Bulgaria. The indicated price is about $1.7 billion (over 2.9 billion leva). Bulgarian Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov explained that this figure is the ceiling price, and in practise, the cost will be lower. 

    The minister also noted that Bulgaria would insist on paying the total sum piece by piece so not to impede the financing of other military deals and projects. 

    According to the minister, a reasonable price for Bulgaria would be no more than two billion leva (about $1.1 billion).

    However, an expert from the specialised journal "AERO", Krassimir Grozev, in a commentary for Bulgarian National Radio, expressed doubt that at such a cost Bulgaria would be able to buy the necessary equipment indicated in the US notice.

    F-16, F-35, U.S, Bulgaria
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