The Bulgarian Ministry of Finance (MoF) has unveiled its draft budget for 2018, proposing increased procurement funding for the acquisition of equipment for the country’s Air Force, new patrol vessels for the Navy, as well as increased expenditure on personnel.
Within the MoF’s 2018–20 Medium Term Budget Forecast, released on 23 October, the government proposes allocating BGN678 million (USD406 million) to replace the country’s fleet of MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighter aircraft, split into allocations of BGN226 million each year for the period.
Additionally, the acquisition of multirole modular patrol ships for the Navy is proposed, with a total budget of BGN513 million, split into BGN171 million per year over the period.
In justifying the platform acquisitions, the government outlined the need to maintain commitments to air policing duties, as well as improving interoperability with NATO allies.
Improvements in salaries for service personnel have also been proposed, as part of efforts to improve morale and professionalism.
The budget announcement comes shortly after the Bulgarian representative to the European Union (EU) said that the country would be joining the EU’s Permanent Structure Co-Operation (PESCO) co-operative defence framework. PESCO helps participating member states “increase their effectiveness in addressing security challenges and advancing towards further integration and strengthening defence co-operation within the EU framework”.
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