The battalion battle group that Bulgaria is forming is not fully staffed. Initial operational capabilities are expected by mid-October. It is not a question of a lack of people, but of signing the necessary documents with which the parties wish to participate in this group. A technical agreement is also being prepared, which must go through the Council of Ministers for a decision. This is what the Acting Minister of Defense Dimitar Stoyanov said in the studio of “More of the Day”.
Bulgaria and Italy will also include Greece, North Macedonia, Albania and Montenegro. As well as the American Stryker Company.
The “Stryker” company is not part of the legendary American “Screaming Eagles” – this is the headquarters of the division, which will be in Romania, not in Bulgaria, but under the operational command of this headquarters will be our battle group, explained Stoyanov.
According to him, at the moment, 150 American servicemen are expected to come to Bulgaria.
These are the initial abilities we need to develop. The number of participants in the combat group is expected to be over 1,500 people. There is a new NATO strategic concept, according to which we have a forward defense, Stoyanov specified.
According to him, it will be very difficult to get rid of Russian weapons, because the modernization of the Bulgarian army has been delayed for years.
30 million is an insignificant sum for modernization, the Bulgarian army has been underestimated for years, he said. He emphasized that if there is no continuity between the individual governments, there is no way to achieve modernization of the army.
Regarding the concluded contracts, Stoyanov said that there are two contracts concluded for the delivery of F-16 aircraft – 8 units and the new multi-purpose patrol ship – 2 units. The caretaker government, aided by the previous government, has entered into a contract to acquire anti-ship missiles. One for anti-aircraft guided missiles is to be concluded, and at a later stage for torpedoes for the new patrol ships. About 12 projects are included in the investment plan-program. Between BGN 6 and 8 billion will be needed for the rearmament process, said the Acting Minister of Defense.
The minister said that everything possible is currently being done to extend the life of the MiG-29 at least until 2023. Talks are underway about the possible purchase of engines from Poland or Slovakia.
“There is a repair plant in Poland that currently has 6 engines repaired and they are our main target. In Slovakia it also turned out that there are spare repaired engines and they will not need them because they stop flying the MiG-29 from the end of this week,” he said.
There are still no suspended licenses for their repair on the Russian side, but there is such an intention, added the minister.
At the same time, another option is being worked on – the acquisition of another possible platform to fill the gap that is opened by a possible stoppage of the MiG-29. Letters were sent to Sweden, France, Israel and the USA.
The Minister of Defense specified that currently no Ukrainian equipment is being repaired in our country.
Regarding the security of the Bulgarian border, Dimitar Stoyanov was categorical that there is no weakening of the security on the part of the Bulgarian army.
At the border, there are over 350 military personnel who assist the Ministry of Internal Affairs, who use various technical means – from night vision goggles, to an unmanned aerial vehicle, which will be included in a further stage. From 2018, there is a plan according to which the Ministry of Defense can increase its strength to over 1,400 people.
Until a few weeks ago, the Ministry of Defense participated with 100 people in the security, now there are more than 350 and that is because of the increased pressure. There is no security breach, Stoyanov is categorical.
Naturally, there are channels through which migrants pass, but everything possible is being done to limit this, which is why additional forces and additional funds will be involved, the minister specified.
According to BNT information.