US aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin can start manufacturing eight F-16 Block 70 fighter jets for Bulgaria after it has been awarded a $512 million (473.6 million euro) firm-fixed-price contract, the US defense department said. The production of all eight fighter jets is expected to be completed by January 31, 2027, the US Department of Defense said in a statement last week. The contract value includes $4.2 million of pre-priced options, the defense department added. “This contract award is 100% funded via foreign military sales (FMS) to the Republic of Bulgaria and is the result of a Bulgarian country-conducted competition,” the department said adding that FMS funds in the amount of $507.8 million are being obligated at the time of award. In August of 2019, Bulgaria’s defense ministry said it has transferred to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) in full the agreed sum of $1.2 billion for the delivery of eight F-16 Block 70 fighters along with the related equipment and weapons from the United States. The deal envisages the delivery of six single-seat F-16 jets and two two-seat aircraft used for training, as well as supply of weapons for the jets, Sidewinder AIM 9Х Block II missiles, and a multifunctional information distribution system joint tactical radio system (MIDS JTRS).