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Bulgaria to modernise air force
by Staff Writers
Sofia (AFP) Dec 19, 2012


Bulgaria's government has approved plans to buy new or used fighter jets to replace its ageing fleet of Soviet-built aircraft, Defence Minister Anyu Angelov said on Wednesday.

"According to our plans we would need a minimum of eight (fighters)," Angelov told journalists. He will now start talks with a range of countries and aims to decide by March 1.

Experts estimate Bulgaria, a member of the European Union and the NATO military alliance, would spend about 600-700 million leva (300-350 million euros, $400-470 million) on the aircraft.

Former communist Bulgaria's current Soviet-built MiG-21 jets have to be taken off duty in mid-2013, while its SU-25 bombers are also due to be decommissioned in the coming years. It also has 16 MiG-29 fighters.

Bulgaria is the EU's poorest member state.

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