The maintenance of the eight F-16 Block 70 jet fighters Bulgaria is to receive is expected to be done in partnership between the Bulgarian Air Force and the Avionams
aircraft repair plant, Lockheed Martin International Business Development Senior Manager James Robinson said at a news conference here on Tuesday.
At the news conference Lockheed Martin representatives and officials of the US Embassy in Sofia presented information and comments regarding the eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft Bulgaria is to receive under contracts on the purchase of the fighters and the provision of related equipment and technical support totalling 2.1 billion leva. The agreements were ratified by the Bulgarian Parliament on July 19.
At Tuesday's news conference Robinson said that the maintenance is part of the package and will depend on where the Bulgarian air force chooses to put the aircraft. Robinson said that it is expected that the aircraft will go to the Graf Ignatievo air base and that the facility of Avionams there will be part of the maintenance. The maintenance on the aircraft will be done together between the Bulgarian air force and Avionams, he said.
"There have been no capabilities cut at all. What you are getting is the most advanced fourth generation fighter jet in the world," the Lockheed Martin official said, approached by a reporter to comment what exactly is Bulgaria getting and how he will respond to criticism that some of the capabilities of the aircraft have been cut.
Robinson said also that the next package of aircraft Bulgaria will buy would be significantly more advantageous and that this is not going to be a percentage.
"When you buy the aircraft initially there things like support equipment, spare parts, weapons and training that go in the cost of the overall programme. The second aircraft will not have those additional costs of the programme," he said.