Fact Check: The US Did NOT Destroy Hundreds Of Bulgaria's Planes And Then Sell Them Eight Old Scrapped F-16 Fighter Jets

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  • от: Lead Stories автор
Fact Check: The US Did NOT Destroy Hundreds Of Bulgaria's Planes And Then Sell Them Eight Old Scrapped F-16 Fighter Jets Newly Produced

Did the US sell eight old scrapped F-16 fighter jets to Bulgaria after it was responsible for the destruction of more than 400 aircraft of the Bulgarian Air Force over the years? No, that's not true: The Bulgarian government has issued an order for a brand-new, state-of-the-art F-16 Block 70 fighter jet, refuting the claims made in the TikTok video that it would receive used aircraft.

As Bulgaria confronted the risk of losing its combat aviation capabilities, the need to replace the outdated and soon-to-be-retired MiG-29s became imperative. This situation arose because the majority of the Soviet aircraft had been procured many decades ago and had subsequently become unsuitable for active flight operations.

The claim appeared in a video on TikTok (archived here) published by @petartodorovpet14 on June 1, 2023. The Bulgarian text overlay reads:

For 30 years (1955 - 1985) Russia donated over 400 aircraft, of which 224 fighters worth 30 billion BGN. For 30 years (1989 - 2019) The USA destroyed over 400 Bulgarian aircraft.

They sold us eight scrapped old F-16s for 3 billion BGN.

I can't hear you NATO supporters?

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-06-21 at 9.10.53.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Jun 21 06:24:11 2023 UTC)

Bulgaria has placed an order through the US Department of Defense for a total of 16 F-16 Block 70 fighter jets, along with their accompanying equipment. These aircraft are anticipated to be delivered by 2025. Certain pro-Russian parties such as Vazrazhdane and BSP have repeatedly exploited the delivery delays as an opportunity to disseminate disinformation on the subject.

On July 11, 2019, Defense Minister Krasimir Karakachanov of Bulgaria signed a contract for the first eight F-16s. The second contract was signed by Defence Minister Dimitar Stoyanov to acquire eight new fully equipped F-16 fighter jets.

The number of decommissioned aircraft from the Bulgarian Air Force is significantly lower than the claimed figure of over 400 planes. This reduction occurred not only as part of the modernization efforts within the Bulgarian Army but also to align with NATO standards, necessitating the retirement of outdated Soviet aircraft that no longer meet contemporary requirements. The reduction in Bulgaria's combat aviation is not solely a consequence of external factors, but rather a natural outcome of the ongoing process to upgrade military equipment with advanced and modern technologies.

The United States, as a NATO ally and strategic partner of Bulgaria, has publicly committed to supporting the modernization and revitalization of the Bulgarian army. In a publication dated October 31, 2022, the US Embassy in Bulgaria disclosed that they have provided over $238 million in security assistance to the Bulgarian military.

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