According to the report published by Reuters, the Armed Forces of Bulgaria are willing to carry out maintenance works related to the MiG-29 fighters in Poland. This would, according to the basic assumption, limit the Bulgarian dependence on Russia, within the scope of maintenance and operational use of the military equipment. Minister Nenchev noted that Sofia is, to a large extent, tied to the Russian defence industry (due to the fact that the Army uses a lot of post-Soviet equipment).
The information related to the possible agreement pertaining the repairs of the MiG-29 fighters in Poland was released in January this year, as the relevant Agreement with Russia, which had been concluded quite some time before, is going to expire in September. In February, the spokesperson of the Polish MoD, col. Jacek Sońta stated that there is no information, according to which Poland would be willing to “borrow or provide Bulgaria with the RD-33 engines (utilized by the MiG-29)”. Sońta stated that should Bulgaria acquire the MiG-29 engines in Poland, these power-plants would not be a part of the resources administered by the military or by the Treasury.
Bulgaria is willing to acquire multi-role fighters, in order to replace the Fulcrums. Last year Nenchev received a consent, according to the Novinite.com outlet, to negotiate acquisition of used F-16 fighters in Belgium, Greece or the Netherlands. The issue related to the successors of the MiG-29 fighters in the Bulgarian Air Force had been discussed much earlier, however the selection was delayed due to the poor financial condition, within the scope of the Bulgarian defence budget. According to the NATO data, Bulgaria is going to be the only state, covered with the Eastern Flank reinforcement operations (coverage includes Poland, Romania and the Baltic republics), which is going to reduce its defence spending in 2015.
Minister Nenchev also stated that the issue of the “repairs” has been solved and that a relevant agreement is going to be signed with the Polish government soon. That means that the period of use for the Russian fighters may be extended, even though procurement of the MiG-29 successor is still being planned.