The US State Department has approved the sale of of F-16C/D Block 70/72 aircraft to Bulgaria for an estimated cost of $1.673 billion.

The US Defense Security Cooperation Agency delivered the required certification notifying Congress of this possible sale last week. The notice is displayed below.

“The Government of Bulgaria has requested to buy eight (8) F-16 C/D Block 70/72 aircraft; ten (10) F110 General Electric engines (includes 2 spares); ten (10) Link-16 Multi-Functional Information Distribution System (MIDS) – JTRS (MIDS-JTRS) (includes 2 spares); nine (9) Improved Program Display Generators (iPDG) (includes 1 spare); nine (9) AN/APG-83 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Radars (includes 1 spare); four (4) AN/AAQ-33 SNIPER Targeting Pods; nine (9) Modular Mission Computers (MMC) 7000AH (includes 1 spare); nine (9) LN-260 Embedded GPS/INS (EGI); nine (9) M61 Vulcan 20mm Cannons; sixteen (16) AIM-120C7 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AMRAAMs); one AIM-120C7 Spare Guidance Section; twenty-four (24) AIM-9X Sidewinder Missiles; eight (8) AIM-9X Captive Air Training Missiles (CATM); four (4) AIM-9X Spare Tactical Guidance Sections; four (4) AIM-9X Spare CATM Guidance Sections; forty-eight (48) LAU-129 Multi-Purpose Launchers; fifteen (15) GBU-49 Enhanced Paveway II Kits; fifteen (15) GBU-54 Laser JDAM Kits; twenty-eight (28) GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs (SDB-1); twenty-four (24) FMU-152 Fuzes; twenty-four (24) MK-82 Bombs (Tritonal); six (6) MK82 Bombs (Inert); and thirteen (13) MAU-210 Enhanced Computer Control Group (ECCG). 

Also included are nine (9) AN/ALQ-211 Internal Advanced Integrated Defensive Electronic Warfare Suites (including 1 spare); nine (9) AN/ALE-47 Countermeasure Dispensers (including 1 spare); 4,140 Infrared Flare countermeasures, with impulse cartridges; 8,250 each of PGU-27A/B 20mm training and combat munitions; thirty-six (36) MK-124 Signal/Smoke Illumination devices; nine (9) APX-126 Advanced Identification Friend or Foe (AIFF) units with Secure Communications and Cryptographic Appliques; eighteen (18) AN/ARC-238 UHF/VHF SATURN Radios; sixteen (16) AIM-120C AMRAAM training CATMs; Joint Mission Planning System (JMPS) with software, training and support; twenty (20) Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System (JHMCS) II with Night Vision Goggle compatibility; ten (10) Night Vision Devices; two (2) Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receiver (ROVER) 6i units, plus 1 ground station; ground training device (flight and maintenance simulator); one (1) Avionics I-level Test Station; Electronic Combat International Security Assistance Program (ECISAP) support; Cartridge Actuated and Propellant Actuated Devices (CAD/PAD) support; Common Munitions Bit-test Reprogramming Equipment (CMBRE) support with Computer Test Set Adapter Group; communications equipment; software delivery and support; facilities and construction support; spares and repair/replace parts; personnel training and training equipment; publications and technical documentation; containers; munition support and test equipment; aircraft and munition integration and test support; studies and surveys; U.S. Government and contractor technical, engineering and logistical support services; and other related elements of logistics and program support.  The estimated cost is $1.673 billion.”

The US State Department say that the proposed sale will contribute to Bulgaria’s capability to provide for the defense of its airspace, regional security, and interoperability with the United States and NATO.

“These aircraft will provide Bulgaria with a fleet of modernized multi-role combat aircraft, ensuring that Bulgaria can effectively operate in hazardous areas and enhancing the Bulgarian Air Force’s interoperability with U.S. as well as NATO forces.

Bulgaria currently relies on the United States and the United Kingdom to participate in joint air policing.”

By acquiring these F-16s and the associated sustainment and training package, Bulgaria will be able to provide for the defense of its own airspace and borders.

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I believe the Typhoon was in the running, so again it misses out.


Not really that surprising, the Typhoon is a costly type to operate. The F-16 has a huge global fleet making economies of scale really kick in when it comes to operating costs. It is also compatible with a large range of very credible and advanced weapons. A Block 70/72 F-16 gives significant bang for your buck and I would argue a better choice than a refurbished Tranche 1 Typhoon, a modern avionics suite including AESA keeps it pretty cutting edge and partnered with AIM-120 C7 and AIM-9X a formidable opponent. There are also geopolitical considerations, the former Communist NATO states… Read more »


This documentary about UAE F-16 at Red Flag gives some useful insight into how the US supports a customer through an FMS type procurement.

Paul T

Would have thought another obvious candidate would have been the Gripen, bearing in mind operating costs etc.

The Big Man

Having watched the Grippen close the Cosford Air Show yesterday I would concur.
No expert, but it’s ability and manoeuvrability was superb, but then so were the FA 18 and the Typhoon. Good job I am not in charge of the purse strings as too easily impressed!


Given that this is their entry into the world of western combat aircraft they’re not exactly filling their depots with munitions… 16 Amraam C7 24 Sidewinder 9X 15 Paveway II 15 LJDAM 28 SDB 4 Sniper targeting pods… To equip 8 aircraft. Only enough Mk.82’s to equip 24 Paveway II and LJDAM with a live warhead, with the remaining 6 being inert training munitions. It’s a step up for Bulgaria as they can barely get a fighter in the air at present. But realistically the Bulgarians have bought themselves 1 combat sortie from their airforce for $1.6bn in times of… Read more »