The Bulgaria Air Force: Their role in the Air Defence in Eastern Europe

The Bulgarian Air Force have been committed to safeguarding Allied airspace and an integral part of NATO’s Air Policing mission since March 29, 2004.

Their Air Policing efforts began just a week prior to Bulgaria’s official membership in NATO, dated April 4, 2004. Initially, the mission was carried out by two-ship formations of two types of fighter jets, MiG-21 and MiG-29….


From 2015 the Bulgarian Air Force has hosted several visiting units from Allied nations to jointly secure the skies over the Eastern flank of NATO….As part of NATO’s assurance measures the enhanced Air Policing mission has seen the deployment of the US Air Force squadrons in 2016 and 2020, and an Italian Air Force unit in 2017. These deployments allowed the teams…to demonstrate the readiness and will to defend the integrity of not only Bulgarian airspace but contribute to the wider defence of NATO.

17 years after joining NATO, the Bulgarian Air Force continues to police the skies of Bulgaria within the scope of NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defence System….

Bulgarian MiG-29 and NATO AWACS over the Black Sea region. Photo: Bulgarian Air Force.