Bulgaria Air Force first F 16 Block 70 credit Lockheed Martin 640First F-16 Block 70 for Bulgarian Air Force

In the second week of January 2024, the Bulgarian Minister of Defence Todor Tagarev visited the F-16 production facility in Greenville (SC) where he viewed the production of the F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon for the Bulgarski Voenno Vzdushni Sili (BVVS, Bulgarian Air Force).

He was accompanied by the Bulgarian Ambassador Georgi Panayotov, and the Bulgarian Defence Chief Adm. Emil Eftimov. According to Lockheed Martin there are currently seven F-16s are in various stages of production, and the inaugural flight of the first fighter is planned for later this year.

In a brief official ceremony, he signed the fuselage of the first dual-seat aircraft with c/n MY-01.

In total, Bulgaria ordered sixteen F-16C and F-16D Block 70 fighter aircraft. With the first order, placed in July 2019, Bulgaria signed up for eight F-16 Block 70 fighters. It was not specified how the order was divided between single-seat and dual seat aircraft, but Scramble Magazine assesses that this order consists of six F-16C and two F-16D models. In April 2020, Lockheed Martin Aeronautics, Fort Worth (TX), was awarded a USD 512 million contract for the construction of eight F-16 Block 70s for the Republic of Bulgaria. This Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract included USD 4,1 million worth of pre-priced options.

Bulgaria Air Force first F 16 Block 70 signing fuselage credit Lockheed Martin 320In August 2021, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence requested for a second batch of eight F-16 Block 70 fighters, consisting of four F-16C Block 70 and four F-16D Block 70 fighters plus related equipment like spare engines, missiles, bombs and Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radars. On 4 April 2022, the US State Department has made a determination approving a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Bulgaria of eight Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcons and related equipment valued at USD 1,7 billion.

Next to Slovakia, Bulgaria will be the second European country to receive the F-16C/D Block 70.

Credit photos: Lockheed Martin

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