The sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Bulgaria for $1.67 billion has been approved by the US Department of Defense to strengthen the country’s air force.
“By allowing Bulgaria to regularly deploy modern fighters in the Black Sea, the proposed sale will improve its ability to respond to current and future threats,” said the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is part of the Ministry of Defense. On 4/4, the US Defense Department stated. It’s unclear which F-16 variant will be sold to Bulgaria. The Pentagon has approved the sale of eight F-16 fighter jets to Bulgaria for $1.67 billion, citing Bulgaria’s ability to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. The F-16 sale, however, does not bind Bulgaria to the supply of MiG-29s to Ukraine, according to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby.
Bulgaria is one of three NATO members that operates the MiG-29 fighter jet, which can be controlled by Ukrainian pilots. Poland and Slovakia are the other two countries with MiG-29 fighters.
On March 8, Poland proposed transferring MiG-29 fighters to Germany in exchange for full US support for Ukraine, on the condition that Washington compensate Warsaw with US fighters with comparable capabilities. Poland has also requested that NATO allies who own MiG-29 fighter jets do the same.
However, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin later stated that “at this time,” the US does not support the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Minister Austin also ruled out the possibility of Poland transferring MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine with the help of US fighter jets, or handing the planes over to the US for delivery to Ukraine.
The US and its allies use the F-16 multirole fighter, which was developed by General Dynamics in the 1970s. The F-16 can fly at a top speed of 2,100 km/h at an altitude of 12,000 metres, with a maximum ceiling of 18,000 metres and a range of 546 kilometres. The F-16 has a 6-barrel 20mm cannon and 11 mounts capable of carrying 7.7 tonnes of weapons.