Some of the Bulgarian military pilots refuse to perform flights using Russian MiG-29 fighters; they report safety issues in the obsolete aircraft. Atanas Zapryanov, the country’s deputy defense minister said this as quoted by Radio Liberty.
The defense ministry accused the boycotting pilots of conducting a motivated campaign. He insisted that Bulgaria will be restoring all domestically-made MiG-29s and Russian-made Su-25s (Soviet-era ground attack aircraft, - 112 International).
Bulgaria joined NATO back in 2004; most of its aircraft, however, is Russian-made. Currently, Bulgarian Air Force employs seven combat-ready Mig-29s. Previously, Bulgaria announced the 770 million Euro-large tender. The opinions in the authority divided; Boiko Borisov’s conservative government opposes the Parliament, President Rumen Radev, and local socialists. As the Cabinet offered to buy JAS Gripen fighters from Sweden, the Parliament vetoed this decision and supported the idea to purchase F-16s from Portugal and Eurofighter Typhoons.