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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