Free Vipers for Bulgaria!
On 20 October 2020, the United States State Department’s Assistant Secretary for Political and Military Affairs R. Clarke Cooper visited Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer air bases and the Novo Selo Training area (Bulgaria) to observe deployed US airmen from the 31st Fighter Wing (Aviano) supporting the Bulgarski Voenno Vzdushni Sili (BVVS, Bulgarian Air Force) in the NATO enhanced Air Policing Mission.
During the ceremonial visit it was announced that the US Air Force intends to provide two surplus F-16s to the BVVS. However, this still subject to the approval of the US Congress. Both Fighting Falcons will be transferred through the US Department of Defense’s Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme for use as training aids and general familiarization tools for Bulgarian Air Force personnel.
Early October 2020, the US and Bulgaria signed a Ten-Year Road Map for Defense Cooperation Agreement that provided for the joint use of several military bases and allowed the US military to increase participation in training exercises in Bulgaria.
The donation of these two F-16s follows the recent Foreign Military Sales purchase of eight Block 70 F-16s from the US. Scramble assess the two F-16s might be F-16Ds and to be used for training only.
For our earlier reports about Bulgarian Vipers see here.
Photo (just illustrative): Robbert Snijders