WARSAW, Poland — Bulgarian Defense Minister Todor Tagarev has announced the country’s government has approved the planned purchase of Stryker combat vehicles from the United States for about $1.37 billion. The move suggests Sofia’s declared plan to negotiate a lower price tag could be considered successful.

“When we make the first payments, the contract will go into force. From there, we are talking about deliveries starting in two years, and the contract being completed within three years,” Tagarev said during a Bulgarian military event on Sept. 22., as quoted in a ministry statement.

Earlier this month, the top official announced the country’s authorities were making efforts to negotiate a lower price in the potential deal to buy 183 combat vehicles than the $1.5 billion estimate published by the U.S. government. However, on Sept. 22, Tagarev did not disclose the proposed scope of the contract or the number of Strykers to be delivered to the Bulgarian Armed Forces.

Following the Cabinet’s decision to approve the planned procurement, a legislative proposal concerning the acquisition and its cost will be submitted to the National Assembly, Bulgaria’s unicameral parliament. The minister said he is expecting the country’s lawmakers to approve legislation, after which the contract will be signed and subsequently ratified by the National Assembly.

The vehicles are manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems.

“This project is important not only so that we can merge three mechanized battalion battlegroups into one brigade, but also to have interoperable equipment allowing us to join all the alliance initiatives intended for our defense,” Tagarev said.

Bulgaria’s coalition government holds 132 out of the 240 seats in the country’s parliament, which means the spending measure is likely to be approved by the required majority of lawmakers.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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