Bulgaria requests surplus F-16s from Portugal

IHS Janes

03 June 2016

Bulgaria has requested information from Portugal about the possible modernisation of nine surplus Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters, a spokesperson for the Portuguese Ministry of National Defence (MND) has told IHS Jane’s .

Bulgaria has long had a requirement to acquire combat aircraft to replace its ageing MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighter aircraft. However, financial limitations have so far delayed any aircraft acquisition. IHS Jane’s understands Bulgaria is analysing different options worldwide, with surplus F-16s being one of them.

Neighbouring Romania has already purchased 12 F-16AM/BMs from Portugal, with a spokesperson for the MND stating the country has made a request for Portugal to sell and modernise a further 12 F-16s for its air force.

Any deal for either country would not include F-16s operated by the Portuguese Air Force (FAP). Instead they would be aircraft made available by the United States though its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme, or aircraft of allied nations that are replacing the type with the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II. Any potential deal will see the aircraft modernised by Portugal.


Related post:

Bulgarian Parliament Approves Plan to Buy Fighter Jets, Warships

Bulgaria Launches Public Tender for Purchase of Ten MiG-29 Engines

Bulgarian and Polish MiG-29 Fulcrums

Bulgarian Air Force

Current inventory

Type Origin Role In service Notes
MiG-21bis Soviet Union Fighter 0 WFU 31/12/2015
MiG-29 Russia Multirole 15  
Sukhoi Su-25K Russia Attack 12  
Antonov An-30 Russia Patrol 1  
Airbus A319 France Transport 1 VIP transport
Falcon 2000 France Transport 1 VIP transport
Pilatus PC-12 Switzerland Transport / utility 1  
Alenia C-27J Spartan Italy Transport 3  
Eurocopter AS532 Cougar France Transport 12 Helicopter. 2 on order
Mil Mi-24 Russia Attack 1 Helicopter.
Mil Mi-17 Russia Transport 4 Helicopter.
Bell 206 JetRanger United States Utility 2 Helicopter.
Aero L-39ZA Albatros Czechoslovakia Trainer 3 Jet.
Pilatus PC-9 Switzerland Trainer 5  
Bell 206 JetRanger United States Trainer 4 2 on order


Portuguese Air Force (Força Aerea Portuguesa) F-16BM with serial 15139 takes off (Image © Marcel Burger)

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