Bulgaria’s President Vetoes $1.26 Billion Deal for F-16 Jets

Bulgaria’s President Vetoes $1.26 Billion Deal for F-16 Jets 24 July, 2019

Bulgaria's president has vetoed the country's planned $1.26 billion acquisition of eight Lockheed Martin F-16V fighters, citing a lack of agreement and clarity over the deal.

Issuing the veto on 23 July, “The commitment of Republic of Bulgaria to obligations, for years to come, without a national consensus and conviction in the mutually acceptable conditions of the treaty, is extremely worrying,” Radev said in a statement.

He says the "sharp controversies" that were evident during the parliamentary approval process last week showed that "no public consensus was sought or reached".

"Bulgaria needs a multirole aircraft, which is achieved not only by its qualities, but also by a full package of equipment, support and personnel training. A clear answer to the public is required as to whether this is actually achieved by the contracts," says Radev.

He has resubmitted the procurement law for another parliamentary discussion on 26 July, where the veto could be overruled with a vote of at least 121 members of the 240-seat assembly.

The acquisition, Sofia's largest public procurement since the fall of communism, is intended to replace the air force's fleet of RAC MiG-29s by 2023. They have considered buying second hand F-16s from Portugal, Eurofighter Typhoons from Italy and Saab JAS Gripens from Sweden.

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