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Bulgaria looks beyond MiG-29 retirement

19th August 2022 - 16:00 GMT | by Alexander Mladenov, Krassimir Grozev in Sofia


The end of service for the Bulgarian MiG-29 fleet is in sight, but the type is expected to remain good for use until mid-2023. (Photo: Alexander Mladenov)

The Bulgarian MoD is examining various options to retain a crucial NATO Air Policing capability for the foreseeable future, including second-hand leasing as an interim solution before the introduction of recently ordered F-16V Block 70 aircraft.

The Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) fleet of MiG-29 and MiG-29UB fighters can remain operational until mid-2023 but beyond that date, and unless a replacement is procured, Sofia will be unable to provide an independent Air Policing mission within the NATO Integrated Air Defence and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS).

NATO Air Policing plans call for a pair of fighters to be kept on quick reaction alert (QRA) duty around the clock.

The BuAF MiG-29 fleet had been maintained by the Russian OEM MiG, which delivered spare parts, MRO services and technical support.

Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, however, this support

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Alexander Mladenov


Alexander Mladenov

Alexander Mladenov is a Shephard correspondent based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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Krassimir Grozev


Krassimir Grozev

Krassimir is a journalist based in Sofia, Bulgaria

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