The Head of State: The Alarmingly Low Flight Time of Pilots Puts Flight Safety and the Country’s Security Under Threat
Rumen Radev attended the day for high-ranking guests at the Thracian Viper 2020 International Flight Training
I expect that energetic actions be taken so that the problem with the alarmingly low flight time of the MiG-29 pilots be resolved. This year this flight time has been the lowest for many years and this puts under threat the safety of flights and the country’s security. This is what President Rumen Radev said at the Graf Ingatievo Air Base, where he attended the day for high-ranking guests at the Thracian Viper 2020 International Flight Training.
As challenges the Bulgarian Air Force and Defense Ministry are facing President Radev identified ensuring all necessary conditions so that the new F-16 aircraft, for which Bulgaria has already paid in advance, be accepted, put into operation and be on combat air patrol.
In the Head of State’s words, it will take a lot of years for the new aircraft to be on combat air patrol on protecting the air space and all necessary action should be taken so that the Bulgarian air space continues to be protected by Bulgarian pilots with Bulgarian aircraft. “Our boys, who fly and maintain the available equipment, are heroes, yet we cannot endlessly rely on their heroism, self-sacrifice and commitment,” Rumen Radev said.
“We are supposed to be delivered another eight aircraft, this whole infrastructure is to be developed here, including land equipment, staff training, and putting the aircraft into operation and it is only then that we can be on full combat air patrol with the new fighters,” the Head of State further commented. The president argued this will happen not earlier than 2025-2026, moreover making no mention of the equipment of a whole squadron.
Taking a question, the Head of State said that what is needed is a full modernization of the infrastructure, delivery and utilization of the whole land equipment, acquisition of armaments, staff training and above all a deep transformation of the system for maintenance and logistic provision. Rumen Radev recalled that he had held talks with the leadership of the Defense Ministry, the Defense Staff and the Air Force command staff on the establishment of an F-16 office at the Defense Ministry on minimizing the risk for this program.
The President stressed that the international training is valuable because contemporary air operations are extremely complicated and colossal resources, which Bulgaria lacks, are necessary to ensure the development of the science, tactics, technology and procedures for conducting such operations. In Rumen Radev’s words, the training will contribute to making it possible that our pilots and aviation specialists acquire high-level skills and knowledge. The Head of State hailed the representatives of the participating countries for their high professionalism and ability to work and fulfill joint tasks in a complicated situation.
The Thracian Viper 2020 International Flight Training was held in the period 14-25 September 2020 in Bulgaria’s airspace. The joint flights include 11 aircraft types from the Air Forces of Bulgaria, Greece, Canada, Romania and the United States, which operate from seven different military airports. The training combat activities include three types of anti-aircraft missiles from the Bulgarian Army.