Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Bulgaria will delay the purchase of eight fighter jets to replace Soviet-era aircraft because of budget cuts next year.
A procurement plan and tender for the acquisition of military aircraft will be postponed after the Cabinet decided to narrow the 2012 budget deficit to 1.35 percent of gross domestic product, from 2 percent this year, Defense Minister Anyu Angelov told reporters in Sofia today.
“Work on the procurement plan will continue, though it won’t be ready by the end of the year as initially planned,” Angelov said. “The tender procedure won’t be opened in 2012 due to insufficient financial support in the current budget.”
Bulgaria wants to replace its Soviet-era MiG-21 and SU-25 fighters with military aircraft that meet the requirements of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The first delivery was previously planned for 2014 or 2015, Angelov said in a March 23 interview. Bulgaria also has 16 MiG-29 fighters, which it plans to use until their service life expires in 2029.
The European Union’s poorest state in terms of economic output per capita will narrow next year’s budget deficit to contain the impact of the euro area’s sovereign-debt crisis as economic recovery slows. The government plans to cut the budgets of defense and security agencies and increase spending on education, science, health care and the justice system, Finance Minister Simeon Djankov said on Oct. 24.
--Editors: Douglas Lytle, Balazs Penz
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