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Bulgarian MPs approve purchase of 8 new F-16s from US

Bulgarian MPs approve purchase of 8 new F-16s from US

Bulgaria’s parliament has sealed a deal to buy eight new American fighter jets. The agreement is 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, AP reported. This will be the biggest military procurement in post-Communist Bulgaria.

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 EU three years later.