The US sells Stryker armored vehicles to Bulgaria for $1.5 billion.

The deal for 183 machines went through the State Department and the Pentagon
The US State Department has approved a deal to sell Stryker armored vehicles and related equipment worth about $1.5 billion to Bulgaria, the Pentagon’s Security Cooperation Agency, which is responsible for the sales , announced of military equipment and weapons abroad.

The sale to NATO ally Bulgaria will consist of 183 Stryker family vehicles, including infantry vehicles, command vehicles and medical evacuation vehicles, the Pentagon said.

On Friday, the Pentagon’s Defense and Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale. Despite the State Department’s approval, the notification does not indicate with certainty that a contract has been signed or that negotiations have concluded. The Pentagon says General Dynamics Corp is the prime contractor on the deal.

Such a potential deal was already known in May this year. At the time, it was understood in a reply to a parliamentary question that the Ministry of Defense was in negotiations for the acquisition of armored fighting vehicles with the US, which were at an advanced stage and a contract was expected to be concluded soon.

Bulgaria has been trying to buy 150 armored vehicles for the Ground Forces for years. Auctions and negotiations were also organized. In March 2021, the Ministry of Defense sent letters to companies that it was terminating the procedure for purchasing armored combat vehicles. “The price proposals of the two companies, admitted to the second stage, significantly exceed the framework approved by the National Assembly”, reports the Ministry of Defense, while at the same time making it clear that Bulgaria will try to produce such equipment on its own.

In October 2020, it became clear that those who reached the finals of the competition had set prices above the ceiling of BGN 1.5 billion, set by the National Assembly. With this 1.5 billion, which had to be paid in installments, Bulgaria planned to pay for 150 machines for three battalion combat groups, delivery of systems and additional equipment and training of personnel.

Just a few months ago, there was talk that the Ministry of Defense was also considering the possibility of a direct contract with the US for Stryker machines.

At the same time, a total of 16 F-16 fighter jets were successively bought for over BGN 5 billion, and two ships were started to be built for BGN 1 billion.
Just a few days ago, under the same scheme, the US State Department approved the sale of Apache helicopters and their equipment to Poland, and the deal is worth 12 billion dollars. The NATO member state Poland has requested to receive 96 Apache attack helicopters and the corresponding equipment for them, including 1,844 Hellfire missiles and 508 Stinger missiles, the Pentagon added at the time.

What opportunities will the Bulgarian armed forces get if a contract is signed?

The Stryker is an eight-wheeled armored vehicle that combines firepower, battlefield mobility, survivability and versatility, with reduced logistical requirements, according to the US Army Acquisition Support Center, BGNES explained.

In the 1990s, the US military decided it needed a more mobile strike force that could be deployed anywhere in the world in just a few days. That means they need a vehicle that is well-armed and armored, yet relatively light and small enough to be carried by a S-130 cargo plane.

The Stryker was chosen as the platform around which the Army could build these forces. For the first time, machines of this type fought in Iraq in 2003.

The combat vehicle was named after two Medal of Honor recipients: Stewart S. Stryker, who served in World War II, and Sergeant Robert F. Stryker, who served in Vietnam.

There are 18 different Stryker variants in the US military. Some are primarily used to move infantry during combat, while others are designed to carry armaments such as 120mm mortars to provide fire support. Still others have 30mm or even larger 105mm guns for direct fire on enemy troops.

Stryker vehicles have solid armor protection, can reach a speed of 96 kilometers per hour, and have a central tire inflation system. The machine carries an infantry squad of nine and a crew of two. The base variant features a remote weapon station with an M2 .50 caliber machine gun or a MK-19 40mm grenade launcher. The Stryker family of armored vehicles emphasizes performance by reducing the logistical footprint and minimizing maintenance costs.

The platform was originally constructed with flat-bottom hulls that proved vulnerable to improvised bombs and mines used by insurgents in Iraq. In response to this problem, the Army is also phasing in the V-bottom concept in some configurations.

The combat vehicle can be configured in a number of different variants, including those for use by engineers or as ambulances.

Stryker armored vehicles provide warfighters with a reliable, battle-proven platform that includes significant improvements in survivability and capabilities since the weapon’s initial introduction in 2002.

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