Bulgarian lawmakers seal deal to buy 8 new F-16s from US

Business

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — Bulgaria’s parliament has approved the purchase of eight new American fighter jets as part of a plan to replace the Balkan country’s aging Soviet-built jets and to bring its air force in line with NATO standards.

Lawmakers voted 123-78 on Friday in favor of a government motion to buy the eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft, which will be the biggest military procurement in post-Communist Bulgaria. Two legislators abstained from the vote.

The $1.25 billion deal includes the jets, ammunition, equipment and pilot training. The six single-seat and two two-seat F-16s would be delivered by 2023.

The defense minister will sign the contract with producer Lockheed Martin.

Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union three years later.

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