Agreement Related To Overhauls Of The Bulgarian MiG-29 Jets In Poland. Modernization comes next?

Ministers of Defence of Bulgaria and Poland have signed an international agreement, related to a logistics support programme connected to maintenance of the MiG-29 fighters. At the first stage, the engine overhauls are going to be carried out. Tomasz Siemoniak, Minister of Defence noted, that works have been undertaken to create subsequent agreements, the aim of which would be to implement a “complex modernization of the MiG-29 jets”.

The “Agreement between the Polish and Bulgarian governments, pertaining the logistics support for the MiG-29 jets” has been signed during the yesterday’s visit of the Bulgarian Minister of Defence, Nikolay Nenchev. Minister Siemoniak stressed the fact that the Bydgoszcz-based Military Aviation Works No. 2 [Wojskowe Zakłady Lotnicze nr 2] facility is ready to realize the task. At the first stage, support for the Bulgarian Air Force is going to include overhauls of six MiG-29 engines. Two units are going to be provided by Poland, for the period of the undertaken works.

This is the beginning of close and long-term cooperation, also within the framework of NATO and the EU. Today, I am fully convinced, when it comes to long-term, strategic cooperation with Poland.

Nikolai Nenchev, Bulgarian Minister of Defence

Bulgarian Minister of Defence assured the press that signing of the document marks the beginning of a long-term cooperation, also involving the NATO alliance. Polish Minister of Defence recalled the fact that, within the scope of cooperation with Bulgaria, ca. 50 initiatives are planned to be realized next year.

As it was announced by the Polish Ministry of Defence, the talks with the Bulgarian official also covered the issues related to the NATO summit in Warsaw, which is planned to be organized in 2016. Minister Siemoniak noted that there is a vast common ground between the stances of Warsaw and Sofia, when it comes to strategic adaptation to all types of threats. This may be interpreted as a struggle to implement proper, permanent reinforcing measures, both in the light of the Russian threat, as well as in case of the dangers posed by other armed groups, including the so called Islamic State.

This agreement will lead us to closer cooperation. We appreciate the Bulgarian trust. At the same time, we are involved in works, the aim of which would be to create subsequent agreements, which would regulate a complex modernization programme, related to the MiG-29 jets. We are going to put a lot of effort in that process, in order to realize that subsequent agreement in a diligent manner.

Tomasz Siemoniak, Minister of Defence

Siemoniak, noted, that works have been undertaken, in order to create the subsequent agreements, the aim of which would be to implement a “complex modernization of the MiG-29 jets”. MiG-29M fighters have been introduced into service, at the 23rd Tactical Air Base in Minsk Mazowiecki. This variant of the jet is partially modernized, however, the armament it carries still remains unchanged. Military Aviation Works No. 2 facility in Bydgoszcz has been declaring it earlier, that it is ready to expand the scope of works. MiG-29M fighters have been, recently, involved in a training operation in Bulgaria.

READ MORE: Polish MiG-29 Fighters Compliant With The NATO Standards. Modernization Has Been Completed.

The agreement signed yesterday is a result of a letter of intent, signed in Bulgaria on 30th September. According to the plans which have been disclosed to the public earlier on, the works are going to be realized by Military Aviation Works No. 2 and 4, under the supervision of the Air Force Institute of Technology. Budapest decided to carry out overhauls of the MiG-29 jets in Poland due to the intention of doing it without dependence on the Russians, as it was suggested by Nenchev in his earlier statements. Nenchev also claims that the Polish maintenance offer is more beneficial, than the one proposed by Moscow.

Bulgaria is willing to acquire multi-role fighters, in order to replace the Fulcrums and other post-soviet jets used by the Air Force. Bulgarians still utilize the MiG-21 and Su-25 aircraft as well. Sofia assumes that it is going to acquire second-hand jets, however, the initial plans have been delayed due to budgetary cuts. Keeping the MiG-29 jets in active service is going to make it possible to maintain the basic capabilities of the air force, until the new jets are acquired.