WARSAW, Poland — Bulgaria‘s Ministry of Defence will submit its proposals to procure new fighter jets and armored vehicles to the Council of Ministers this March, according to Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov.

The minister told public broadcaster BNT that Bulgaria will seek offers “for new and secondhand aircraft” to “find the best prices and the best options.”

In November, Karakachanov said the ministry aimed to request offers from a number of aircraft manufacturers. The considered fighter jets were to include Lockheed Martin’s F-16, Saab’s JAS 39 Gripen, the Eurofighter Typhoon and Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet.

The aircraft are to replace Bulgaria’s Soviet-designed Mikoyan MiG-29 aircraft with Western-made fighters. The deal is expected to be worth about 1.5 billion leva (U.S. $946 million).

Karakachanov says the ministry aims to spend 20 percent of the country’s military expenditure on new weapons and equipment for the Bulgarian Armed Forces. By 2024, Sofia is to raise its annual defense expenditure to 2 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, according to the minister.

Under the plan, the new wheeled vehicles are to replace Bulgaria’s Soviet-made BTR-60 armored personnel carriers.

More In Europe
US to boost military presence in Europe for Russia threat
Biden announced the permanent basing of a U.S. military garrison in Poland. He also said the U.S. is sending two additional F-35 fighter jet squadrons to the U.K. and more air defense and other capabilities to Germany and Italy.
Turkey lifting objections to Sweden, Finland joining NATO
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Sweden and Finland to abandon their long-held nonaligned status and apply to join NATO. But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had blocked the move, insisting the Nordic pair change their stance on Kurdish rebel groups that Turkey considers terrorists.