Bulgaria will finalise the contract to procure new fighter jets for the Bulgarian Air Force in 2012, Defence Minister Anyu Angelov said.

Angelov has recommended that air force commanders draft a vision for the development of the country’s military aviation by the end of 2010, according to Sofia NewsAgency.

In 2011, the defence ministry will research the market and study the best offers from the prospective military firms, and finalise the public procurement tender and contract.

Angelov said the air force aimed to receive the first deliveries of new fighter jets in 2015.

Bulgaria will retire its MiG-21 fighter jets in 2012, but will use 16 modernised MiG-29 jets until 2030.

Bulgaria’s fighter procurement programme, seen as the most expensive deal for the air force in the near future, is behind schedule by ten years due to lack of funds.