EADS BAFFLED BY A BULGARIAN REFUSAL
The program for the modernization of 12 MiG-29 fighters and the transfer of know-how and equipment to Bulgaria's aviation industry would ensure one million working hours for the Bulgarian personnel and some 350 jobs in 2001, representatives of the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) told a news conference on June 13.
The Defense Ministry had invited EADS to present a draft contract for the modernization program. EADS proposed several versions for the modernization of the MiG fleet. The proposals of the consortium was discussed in detail but, in addition to the prices mentioned, another motive for the final of the contract was the change in the vision for the use of MIG-29 that occurred in the meantime, the press office of the Ministry said.
The contract was drafted in close cooperation with the Bulgarian company TEREM, EADS's partners from MiG, and Rosoboronexport, as part of the German-Russian MiG Aircraft Product Support GmbH (MAPS) group, a press release said. The concern is consulted by IBCOL-Bulgaria OOD, which also organized the news conference.
Dirk Schneider, IBCOL-Bulgaria OOD managing director, said the written refusal to sign the contract received by his company from the Bulgarian Defense Ministry was illogical. The reasoning is very difficult to understand, he said, adding that the refusal indicates that the issue is not of priority importance to Bulgaria and that the country is not interested in working with European companies.
The program for the modernization of the aircraft's avionics, for the lengthening of their repair resource by 10-15 years and for the upgrade of their logistical system was, according to the concern's proposal, key for the interaction between NATO and the Bulgarian Air Force. The equipment that would have been provided to the Georgi Benkovski aviation plant in Plovdiv could have given Bulgaria the monopoly over the repair of the 800 MiG-29s operated outside Russia, IBCOL said.