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Bulgarian and US air forces joint ops

Date: 10.11.2008

Joint flying manoeuvres by the United States air force and the Bulgarian Air Force will take place between November 10 and 25, the US embassy said in a statement on November 7.

The 555th air fighting squadron of the US air force will fly along side with fighter command squadrons from the Graf Ignatievo air base near Plovdiv in exercises that will involve the use of three types of aircraft - F16 Fighting Falcon, MiG21 Fishbed and MiG29 Fulcrum. The purpose of the exercises is to improve the cooperation and technical preparation of the American and Bulgarian pilots. Air-to-air and air-to-ground assault, reconnaissance and dogfight tactics will be practiced as well.

US ambassador to Bulgaria Nancy McEldowney visited the Bulgarian Air Force base in Graf Ignatievo on November 7 and, as part of the programme for the day, the ambassador took a test flight in the cockpit in an F16 fighter.

“It was incredible, most importantly I was shown what this aircraft can offer in terms of technological advancement on international level” said McEldowney after her 50-minute-long flight in the fighter, as quoted by Bulgarian news agency BTA.

According to McEldowney, the Bulgarian and American pilots must make the most from this opportunity to fly and work together and learn how to coordinate their efforts and skills as allies. It will contribute not only to improving the standards and fighting capability of the bulgarian Air Force, but it will also give a new dimension to the training and experience of the American pilots as well. 

According to the ambassador, the mutual training will make Bulgaria and the US better and stronger allies and it will make them more potent to deal with difficulties within their obligations in Nato for the future.

Regarding the actual flight, she said that it was the “event of her life”.

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