The U.S. State Department has approved a nearly $1.7 billion sale of up to eight Lockheed Martin [LMT] F-16 C/D Block 70 Viper fighters and related munitions to Bulgaria.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency said that it had informed Congress of the possible sale on Apr. 4.
The sale could also include 19 Raytheon Technologies [RTX] Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) AIM-120C-7/C-8 or equivalent missiles; 28 Boeing [BA] GBU-39/B Small Diameter Bombs (SDBs); four Lockheed Martin AN/AAQ-33 Sniper Advanced Targeting Pods (ATPs); 12 Boeing KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) tail kits for 500 pound GBU-38 or laser JDAM GBU-54s; and L3Harris [LHX] Remote Operated Video Enhanced Receivers (ROVER).
DSCA suggested that the sale could aid Europe’s footing against Russia’s assault on Ukraine and against future aggressions.
“The proposed sale will improve Bulgaria’s capability to meet current and future threats by enabling the Bulgarian Air Force to deploy modern fighter aircraft routinely in the Black Sea region,” DSCA said on Apr. 4. “The acquisition of these aircraft would provide Bulgaria a NATO interoperable platform and allow the Bulgarian Air Force to operate more frequently alongside other regional F-16 operators, promoting common doctrine and operations. Bulgaria has shown a commitment to modernizing its armed forces and will have no difficulty absorbing these aircraft and services into its armed forces.”
The State Department approval of the F-16 sale to Bulgaria came the same day, that Red Cat Holdings, Inc. [RCAT]–the owner of the Utah-based drone maker, Teal Drones, said that an unspecified NATO country had ordered 15 of the company’s Golden Eagle drones for use in Ukraine.
“Drones in the category of the Golden Eagle can be among the most impactful technologies during a war, and there is a significant need for drones in Ukraine to be used for reconnaissance purposes,” George Matus, founder and CEO of Teal Drones, said in a statement. “We are now seeing small drones like the Golden Eagle helping to define the outcomes of wars such as what we’re experiencing now.”
Jeff Thompson, the CEO of Red Cat, said in the statement that “since the war in Ukraine began, we have seen strong interest in the Teal drone platform from numerous European countries.”
“Defense budgets within Europe have risen seemingly overnight due to the need to support this current invasion, as well as the desire to be prepared for future geopolitical conflicts,” he said. “Many countries and military units are recognizing the strategic benefit of having an adequate baseline inventory of drone units that can be invaluable in reconnaissance and surveillance on the front lines. We believe this is the first of many relationships and purchases in the region.”