The Bulgarian government has approved the planned purchase of Stryker combat vehicles from U.S. company General Dynamics Land Systems for approximately $1.3 billion.
At a military event on Friday, Defense Minister Todor Tagarev said following ratification by the unicameral parliament, the contract with GDLS will take effect once the country makes its initial payment.
He estimated that the first of the Stryker units will be delivered in two years, with the full deal providing Bulgaria with 183 combat vehicles set to be completed within three years.
According to the defense chief, the acquisition will support the Bulgarian Armed Forces’ plan of merging three mechanized battalion battlegroups into one brigade.
The armored vehicles will also enhance the Bulgarian Army’s inter-operational capabilities and allow the country to participate in joint exercises with partner nations, Tagarev noted.
Bulgaria announced earlier that it was negotiating with GDLS for a lower price tag on the Stryker contract, which was initially estimated at $1.5 billion. The Defense Security Cooperation Agency informed the U.S. Congress of the possible sale on Sept. 1.
In the DSCA announcement, the foreign military sale includes 90 units of the XM1296 Stryker Dragoon, 17 M1126 infantry carrier vehicles, contractor-provided training and various support service equipment.