Lessons from the Procedure of Acquiring a New Type of Combat Aircraft, 1999-2017

Publication Type:



Todor Tagarev


IT4Sec Reports, Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Number 131, Sofia (2018)


Analysis of Alternatives, costing, defence acquisition, life cycle, modernization, multicriteria analysis, rearmament


In the report to the conference "50 Years Unmanned Aviation in Bulgaria," organised by the Technical University of Sofia - branch Plovdiv, 11-12 April 2018, the author reviews discussions and actions in the past two decades, aiming--as minimum--at providing independent performance of peacetime air policing and interoperability with NATO allies. In similar situations, many countries that do not participate in the design and production of combat aircraft make a political choice. Bulgaria chose instead to select a new type of combat aircraft in a competitive procedure. In June 2016, the Bulgarian Parliament approved the respective "Investment Expenditures Project," and in April 2017 the then Caretaker Government designated a supplier. However, the new Parliament created a commission of inquiry, and in September 2017, based on the commission's report, returned the project to the Ministry of Defence with recommendations for changes in the underlying documents.
This report provides an analysis of the main problems of the competitive procedure, related to the definition of requirements, the adopted methodology for comparative evaluation of alternative proposals, and the adopted approach to the management of the project with focus on the lack of conceptual and procedural clarity and the hyper concentration of authority in a single body - the Project Management Board under the Commander of the Bulgarian Air Force.
The report is based on publicly available information and is intended to support the successful implementation of the project for acquiring a new type of combat aircraft and the overall modernisation of the combat aviation.
The full text of the report is in the Bulgarian language.

Last updated: Wednesday, 13 March 2019