13 October 2016 / 18:39
Sofia, October 13 (BTA) – The tender requirements for a new type of a multipurpose fighter for the Bulgarian Air Force are now ready and need to be approved by the Defence Council before being sent to prospective contractors, Defence Minister Nickolay Nenchev told the MPs in the parliamentary defence committee.
He said that the team working on the tender requirements were ready over a month and a half ago but he wanted to make sure the document has the approval of the new commander of the Air Force – which is now the case.
Nenchev expects that the tender requirements will be approved by the Defence Council next Wednesday so that a letter of intent can be sent to Sweden, Italy and Portugal. Their reply in then expected in a matter of several months after which Bulgaria can pick its supplier.
The three countries were picked among nine which proposed 15 options for purchase of fighters – new and used – to the Bulgarian Defence Ministry in 2011. Sweden offered new Gripen C/D, Italy offered used Eurofighter Tranche 1 and Portugal used F-16 with a logistics package.
The Defence Minister told the MPs that no pressure was put on the experts as they revised the parameters of the deal.
The Thursday press observes that the purchase of a new type of a fighter for the Air Force will be the costliest project for modernization of the Bulgarian Armed Forces and will cost at least 1.5 billion leva. The Defence Ministry plans to acquire a total of 16 fighters in two tranches.
Nenchev was also asked by the MPs about the progress of a procedure of direct negotiations with potential contractors for delivery of engines for Bulgaria’s MiG-29 fighter jets. He said that tentative talks are underway and an agreement is very much likely, especially about the timeframe.
Asked whether the engines can be bought from a country other than Russia, Nenchev said that 10 engines are known to be had in another European country and the Defence Ministry inquired about them. A thorough check, however, established that these have been out of operation for over 10 years and experts were skeptical about how easily they can be refurbished. More checks would have been necessary and then refurbishment at additional costs for the budget, Nenchev said.
Asked whether it means that Bulgaria will end up buying engines from RSK MiG, the Minister said that it was not a matter of personal choice. “We are abiding by the Public Procurement Act and I have no way of influence there or showing any emotions.”
“The company with the best terms will win the contract. In this case, we have ranked a company which obviously has a contract with RSK MiG,” Nenchev added.
He also told the MPs that a tender has been prepared for the acquisition of new armoured vehicles for the Land Forces. The initial offer has been revised. It has a price tag of 1,2 billion leva. PK/LN/
Original post @bta.bg
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