The Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and new-build Lockheed Martin F-16 are candidates for the Bulgarian air force’s fighter modernisation programme due to begin after 2008.

The US Navy plans to propose the Block Super Hornet model that includes the Raytheon APG-79 active electronically scanned array radar, perhaps offering Bulgaria the first such technology in Europe, says Capt Greg Wallace, USN foreign military sales lead for the Super Hornet.

Lockheed also plans to respond to the Bulgarian tender, which is expected soon, says Orville Prins, Lockheed aeronautics vice-president for business development. Lockheed will announce the intended configuration when Bulgaria clarifies its requirement and the US government completes a technology transfer review, he adds.

USN officials proposing the Super Hornet have visited Sofia twice and a third visit is planned, says Wallace. The next trip may be contingent on Bulgaria signing a letter of request with the US government for information to launch a foreign-military sales case. Gripen International is seeking to submit a JAS39 Gripen proposal to Bulgaria.

Source: Flight International