What's next for Bulgaria's fighter fleet after the MiG-29 is retired?

The Bulgarian Air Force (BuAF) is poised to transform its fighter fleet as the days of its ageing MiG-29s are numbered, while the newly ordered F-16 Block 70s are due to be taken on strength not before 2025.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, BuAF MiG-29 support from Russia is no longer possible, with the fleet still having some residual service life to allow flying until mid/late-2023. Beyond that date, if no further support is contracted, Sofia, BuAF’s headquarters, would be rendered incapable to provide an independent Air Policing mission within the frame of NATO’s Integrated Air Defence and Missile Defence System (NATINAMDS). This mission calls for a pair of BuAF MiG-29s to be kept on quick reaction alert (QRA) duty 24/7.

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