The United States Government strongly supports Lockheed Martin’s participation in the multirole fighter competition here in Bulgaria. Lockheed Martin’s new F-16 Block 70 is best suited for the Bulgarian Air Force.” – said U.S. Ambassador Eric Rubin at an American Chamber of Commerce business lunch in Sofia today discussing the topic “Fostering the U.S.-Bulgaria Strategic Partnership.”
Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria Petar T. Ivanov, the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Eric Rubin, and James Robinson, International Business Development Director for the F-16 Program at Lockheed Martin, spoke.
AmCham Executive Director Petar T. Ivanov opened the event by emphasizing the importance of further developing and deepening the Bulgaria-America strategic partnership:
“Recent AmCham research revealed that U.S. foreign investment in Bulgaria is worth at least 2.5 times higher in real value than previously reported. Bulgarian participation in a major strategic procurement such as the purchase of new F-16 fighters through the Foreign Military Sale (FMS) program would expand that investment further by positively impacting our local economy, increasing the technical expertise of our Air Force, and providing benefits to Bulgarian businesses.”
U.S. Ambassador Eric Rubin:
“The United States is committed to assisting our international partners with armed forces modernization, including here in Bulgaria. Bulgarian acquisition of new F-16 fighters will support not only Bulgarian security but also regional security and collective NATO Alliance security.
Lockheed Martin is a globally respected American-based security and aerospace company, which is why the United States Government strongly supports Lockheed Martin’s participation in the multirole fighter competition here in Bulgaria. Lockheed Martin’s new F-16 Block 70 is best suited for the Bulgarian Air Force because it is combat-proven, it provides instant interoperability with numerous NATO Allies – including Bulgaria’s neighbors: Greece, Romania, Turkey, and Poland, Croatia, Slovakia, and because this acquisition can further strengthen Bulgaria’s defense cooperation, engagements, and exercises with the United States and with other NATO Allies and Partners.”
International Business Development Director for the F-16 Program at Lockheed Martin James Robinson:
“Lockheed Martin, together with the U.S. Government, is honored to offer the F-16 Block 70 for the Bulgarian MRF competition, as part of a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. The F-16 Block 70 is the world’s newest and most advanced F-16 production aircraft. The F-16 Block 70 represents the best mix of operational capabilities, advanced avionics, lowest life-cycle cost, and overall program cost for the Bulgarian Air Force. We are certain that the jet fighter will strengthen Bulgaria’s strategic partnership with NATO and the USA. The F-16 Block 70 is fully interoperable with all NATO operational requirements and it is the backbone of the NATO Air Fleet.
With around 700 F-16s operating with NATO air forces in Europe, the aircraft is a benchmark fighter and a pillar of national, NATO and European defence,” said James Robinson, Lockheed Martin. “The F-16 Block 70 represents the most advanced F-16 fighter available today.
“Recently ordered by Bahrain and Slovakia, it represents an excellent mix of operational capabilities, features a number of advanced avionics systems similar to those found on the fifth-generation F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and has proven low through-life operational and sustainment costs. The F-16 Block 70 will put Bulgaria in the top tier of European air power capabilities, strengthening Bulgaria’s strategic partnership with NATO and the United States and providing outstanding interoperability with the majority of its regional neighbours who are also flying F-16.
“We are honoured to offer the F-16 Block 70 to Bulgaria in partnership with the U.S. Government, through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.”
The U.S.-Bulgarian Strategic Partnership – Overview
Over the past 25 years, the United States Government has invested over $300 million U.S. dollars in training and equipping the Bulgarian Armed Forces. The Bulgarian Air Force specifically benefited from $50 million dollars of that assistance. In the last 3 years alone, the United States invested approximately $43 million U.S. dollars in construction projects at Bulgaria’s Graf Ignatievo Airbase and Novo Selo Training Area – in addition to more than $50 million dollars the U.S. and Bulgaria jointly invested to construct Novo Selo Training Area.