F-16 Fighting Falcon News

Bulgaria Defense Minister takes a tour in the F-16

June 11, 2008 (by Lieven Dewitte) - Bulgaria's Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev boarded a US Air Force F-16 fighter today for a 45 minute flight.

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev (left) stands with Lt. Col. Jose Monteagudo, 482nd FW, before an incentive flight in USAF F-16D block 30 #86-0053 on June 11, 2008, at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria.

Tsonev visited the Graf Ignatievo air base in southern Bulgaria, where 10 US F-16 fighters are taking part in joint drills with the 15 MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighters of the Buglarian Air Force.

The fighter the Bulgarian Minister flew was piloted by officer Jose Monteagudo from 93rd "Makos" Squadron of the US Air Force Reserve.

The Bulgarian and US pilots are going to have their exercises in air combat under very realistic conditions. The first flights started on Monday and the drills wil last for two weeks.

At the end of last year, the 31st FW participated in Rodopi Javelin 2007, a three-week joint exercise at Graf Ignatevio AB, Bulgaria.




Additional images:

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev (backseat) talks with Bulgarian Gen. Rumen Radev, before an incentive flight in USAF F-16D block 30 #86-0053 on June 11th, 2008, at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria. American aircrews and 10 F-16s from the 93rd FS at Homestead ARB are at Graf Ignatievo AB to particpate in a joint drill with 15 Bulgarian MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighters. Minister Tsenov visited the base to see how the joint drill was progressing. General Radev is the Graf Ignatievo AB commander. [Photo by Darik Plovdiv]

Lt. Col. Jose Monteagudo, 482nd FW, prepares to take Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Tsonev (backseat) on an incentive flight in USAF F-16D block 30 #86-0053 on June 11th, 2008, at Graf Ignatievo Air Base, Bulgaria. Colonel Monteagudo and 10 F-16s from the 93rd FS at Homestead ARB are at Graf Ignatievo AB to particpate in a joint drill with 15 Bulgarian MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighters. Minister Tsenov visited the base to see how the joint drill was progressing. [Photo by Darik Plovdiv]

Nicolay Tsonev (left), the Bulgarian Minister of Defense, presents a plaque to Lt. Col. Jose Monteagudo (right), 93rd FS commander, after an Orientation Flight in F-16D block 30 #86-0053 on June 11th, 2008. Approximately 200 reservists and 10 F-16 fighter jets from Homestead ARB are currently on a two-week deployment to Bulgaria to train with the Bulgarian AF. [USAF photo by TSgt. Bucky Parrish]