Bulgarian lawmakers seal deal to buy 8 new F16s from US

SOFIA, Bulgaria — Bulgaria’s parliament has approved the purchase of eight new American fighter jets as part of a plan to replace the Balkan country’s aging Soviet-built jets and to bring its air force in line with NATO standards.Lawmakers voted 123-78 on Friday in favour of a government motion to buy the eight F-16 Block 70 aircraft, which will be the biggest military procurement in post-Communist Bulgaria. Two legislators abstained from the vote.The $1.25 billion deal includes the jets, ammunition, equipment and pilot training. The six single-seat and two two-seat F-16s would be delivered by 2023.The defence minister will sign the contract with producer Lockheed Martin.Bulgaria joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union three years later.The Associated Press