Bulgaria to cut one-fifth of defense ministry by 2015: official

21:59, September 01, 2010      

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About 6,000 soldiers on active duty and 1,200 civil officers serving in military units will be cut by 2015, Defense Minister Anyu Angelov said here Wednesday.

He said, by 2015, the total number of the ministry staff would be "not less than 28,000 people."

Angelov said the national ambition for the land forces was to keep two 4,200-strong mechanized brigades, special forces and units for combat and logistics support.

The only Bulgarian submarine will be retired, so there would be no underwater warship in the Bulgarian Navy in the future, the minister said.

The air forces would be reformed as well. The ground air defense would become more compact and anti-aircraft missile complexes delivered decades ago would be retired, while, around 2014-2015, the Soviet-made MiG-29 fighters would be replaced by a new type of NATO-compatible multirole fighters, Angelov said.

He also urged the parliament to vote for defense expenses of at least 1.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the next four years.

The budget of the Defense Ministry for 2010 is 600 million U.S. dollars -- 1.44 percent of the GDP: 38 percent less than the defense budget for 2009, which was 2 percent of the GDP. In 2008 and 2007, the share was 2.33 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively.

Source: Xinhua


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