Bulgaria is in negotiations to shift the maintenance of its RAC MiG-29 fighters from Russia to Poland'sMilitary Aviation Works No. 2 (WZL-2) in Bydgoszcz, defence ministerNikolai Nenchev has announced.
“We must pay three times more than the manufacturer determined, because spare parts are crossed over by a few middlemen,” Nenchev said during a report aired on Bulgariantelevision channelBNT1. Sofia has also received support of a lower quality than expected, he adds.
Nenchev expects a deal to be in place with WZL-2 by September 2015, when its current agreement with Russia will be terminated.“WZL-2 has very good capabilities, which guarantee the fulfilment of Bulgarian air force procedures and standards,” he says. However, he adds that Sofia isconcerned Moscow “will try to disturb the acquisition of spare parts" for its aircraft as a result of the decision.
WZL-2 confirms that “talks with the Bulgarian air force were held from autumn 2013, and both partners gained mutual confidence”. The Polish facility is expected to provide maintenance and overhauls for six of Bulgaria's MiG-29s, which will be involved in NATO air policing missions.
Flightglobal's MiliCAS database records the Bulgarian service as having 15 MiG-29s in active use, including UB-model trainers.
To view a detailed breakdown of Bulgaria's military aircraft inventory, download our free World Air Forces directory.