The Bulgarian Air Force is spearheaded by three Soviet-era products - the MiG-29, Su-25, and Mi-24 - to cover various critical over-battlefield roles for the service.
POWER INDEX SCORE
(Ranked 47 of 53)
Like other European air powers at present, the Bulgarian Air Force stands at a crossroads, bookended by a Soviet-aligned past with an eye towards a more Western-focused future intertwined in NATO's existing infrastructure. Its fighter force, accounting for 20% of all strength, is made up of the Cold War-era Mikoyan MiG-29 'Fulcrum' lightweight platform and, beyond this, offensive capabilities are limited to the Sukhoi Su-25 'Grache' which is specifically-designed for ground-attack. CAS capabilities account for just 6% of total strength. There is a notable move to expand offensive capabilities through the procurement of the American-made F-16C 'Fighting Falcon' multirole type - of which six are on order. The rotorcraft force , making up 29% of all strength, has, as its lead, the Airbus Helicopters H215M which is a proven medium-class 'twin'. The Mil Mi-24 'Hind' provides a hard-hitting armored transport/gunship quality but is also rooted in Cold War-era battlefield theory when tanks were to rule the battlefield. The Mi-17 is used as a transport (but can be modified as a useful gunship if need be) and the Bell 206 provides light utility services.
The transport force accounts for 11% of all strength and includes several types of multi- and single-engined designs including several set aside strictly for VIP usage. The trainer force is notable, making up 32% of all strength, and features the usual stable of basic and advanced trainers as well as attention pair to helicopter and paratrooper training. An An-30 platform serves in the specialized reconnaissance role but there is little else in the special-mission category for the service.NOTES: The WDMMA.org Power Index (PwrIndx) score looks at various qualities of an individual air power (or service branch). While total aircraft certainly influences the rating, aircraft variety (force balance) also plays a key role in determining an air service's placement on the list. Other focused qualities include local industry (aerospace-related) capability, future outlook, and current/recent combat experience. All this is worked into a formula which provides an analytical approach to resolving a force's fighting state in the modern world. This approach to fighting strength is highly theoretical and does not take into account a nation's available manpower or resolve in the face of conflict nor does it involve land and naval fighting strength. The top achievable PwrIndx score belongs to the United States Air Force with its rating of 242.9. As of now, UAV systems are not taken into account due to reporting differences between publicly-available sources (these will be integrated as some point). Navy aviation branches do not take into account the fighting capacity of naval ships.
33 Total available aircraft assuming a Below Average Readiness Rate of 50%.
46 Total available aircraft assuming an Average Readiness Rate of 70%.
49 Total available aircraft assuming an Above Average Readiness Rate of 75%.
52 Total available aircraft assuming an Excellent Readiness Rate of 80%.