February 17, 2022 (by Lieven Dewitte) - The delivery of F-16 fighter jets from the U.S. to Bulgaria is expected to be delayed by at least two years, prime minister Kiril Petkov said. The first F-16 fighter jets are expected to arrive in Bulgaria no earlier than 2025.
Members of the 31st FW and the Bulgarian air force pose for a group photo in front of an American F-16 and a Bulgarian MiG-21 and MiG-29 aircraft following the opening ceremony for Thracian Star 2012 on April 18th, 2012.
"The F-16 program is experiencing delays due to supply chain disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. These unfortunate delays will affect all countries currently participating in the program," the U.S. embassy to Bulgaria said in a statement published on Saturday.
In 2019, Bulgaria agreed and paid in full for the $1.2 billion (1.1 billion euro) purchase of eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from the U.S. The deal envisages the delivery of six single-seat F-16 jets and two two-seat aircraft to be used for training, as well as supply of weapons for the aircraft.
In 2020, the U.S. defense department said that the production of all eight F-16s is expected to be completed by January 31, 2027.