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Lockheed Martin contracted to build second batch of F-16s for Bulgaria

Bulgaria will receive 16 F-16 Block 70 aircraft at the same standard as this Slovakian jet that was recently rolled out. (Slovakian Armed Forces)

The US Department of Defense (DoD) has contracted Lockheed Martin to build a second batch of F-16 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft for Bulgaria.

The contract notification published on 14 September authorises the production of eight F-16C/D Block 70 to add to the eight already under contract.

Work on the USD151.36 million Foreign Military Sales (FMS) award will run through to 30 September 2027. Given the value of the deal is just USD18.92 million per aircraft, further awards are likely to follow. The Bulgarian government previously announced that a total of USD1.3 billion is to be spent on the eight additional F-16s to equip the Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) with a full squadron.

News of the contract came 10 months after Bulgaria signed a letter of offer and acceptance (LOA) for additional F-16s that had been cleared for sale by the United States earlier in 2022.

As the most up-to-date version of the Fighting Falcon, the F-16 Block 70 features the General Electric F100-GE-129D engine (the Block 72 is fitted with the Pratt & Whitney F100-PW229EEP engine, while the F-16V designation denotes a remanufactured airframe that has been brought to the same standard). The Block 70/72 is equipped with the Northrop Grumman AN/APG-83 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar that is derived from the F-16E/F Block 60 AN/APG-80 and also known as the Scalable Agile Beam Radar, a new Raytheon mission computer, the Link 16 datalink, modern cockpit displays, an enhanced electronic warfare system, and a ground collision avoidance system.

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