Bulgaria has decided to purchase 9 F-16 Block 15 fighter aircraft in used condition from Portugal in a deal worth 700 million Bulgarian Lev or about $465 million according to Bulgarian media reports.
The Bulgarian Defense Ministry expects to use the aircraft for another 25 years. New Gripen fighters from Sweden and used Eurofighter aircraft from Italy were the losing candidates in the competition.
The aircraft are part of 25 second-hand F-16 aircraft Portugal has purchased from the United States in 1999 under the Peace Atlantis II Program, which were subsequently upgraded to the Mid Life Upgrade (MLU) standard.
In the United States, these aircraft had been used by the Air Force for 10 years, starting from 1984, before they were placed in storage.
On September 2012, Romania had also expressed interest in 12 F-16 aircraft from Portugal for about $600 million. An earlier attempt 2 years before, to acquire used F-16 directly from the United States had been cancelled due to lack of funds.