Former Deputy Defence Minister, Simeon Nikolov: Bulgaria is delaying critically the modernisation of aviation

11 Септември, 2011 - 17:52 - Rss - всички новини

If Bulgaria misses the opportunity to purchase multiple aim fighter aircraft, the result will be critical because we have made a commitment to NATO for the modernisation of aviation to take place by 2016, stated yesterday to BGNES the Director of the Centre for Strategic Research in the field of Security and International Relations, Simeon Nikolov.
Simeon Nikolov is the former Deputy Defence Minister in the period 2005-2008, when he was responsible for the purchase of new fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Forces.Klassa daily reminds that, a week ago, at the Eighth Bulgarian International Aviation Festival “Sky for All” (BIAF 2011), Prime Minister Boyko Borissov stated that Bulgaria will purchase new multiple aim fighter aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Forces when this becomes of the utmost importance because of our membership in NATO, while, at this stage, the main priorities of the GERB (Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria) government are road construction and the increase in incomes.
Simeon Nikolov indicated that Bulgaria's commitments in terms of modernisation of the army were adopted as early as 2004 at the NATO summit in Istanbul. According to the former Deputy Minister of Defence: "It was then that a modernisation deadline until 2016 was set for Bulgaria and Romania." Nikolov said that Bulgaria has made a commitment to be ready to provide eight multiple aim fighter aircraft at the request of NATO, as well as 4 aircraft, if necessary, for joint operations and another 4 aircraft to protect the airspace in the NATO Integrated Air Defence System (NATINADS) known as "Air Policing".
Considering that 16 fighter aircraft were needed, the intention was to purchase 20 fighter aircraft, explained Simeon Nikolov. He argued that Bulgaria had renegotiated several times with NATO management the deadlines for the implementation of the commitments.
Although earlier postponement had been met with understanding, now it is beginning to lead to the loss of prestige and respect because this will require changes in long-term NATO plans and especially in the reduction of the overall operational capability which is unacceptable, emphasised the military expert.

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