SOFIA, Jan 9 (Reuters) - The Bulgarian government has approved a plan to start talks with the United States on buying eight new F-16 fighter jets to replace its ageing Soviet-made MiG-29s and improve compliance with NATO standards, the defence minister said on Wednesday.
The decision still requires parliament’s approval. The deal for Lockheed Martin’s F-16V Block 70 would be worth around 1.8 billion levs ($1.06 billion), Bulgaria’s biggest military procurement since the fall of Communist rule some 30 years ago..
Other bidders had included Sweden, with Saab’s Gripen jets, and Italy, with second-hand Eurofighters. ($1 = 1.7057 leva) (Reporting by Angel Krasimirov, writing by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Kevin Liffey)