Four F-35s in Bulgaria to guard airspace at NATO’s eastern flank

Four F-35s of the Royal Netherlands Air Force recently landed at Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria. The base is approximately 130 kilometres south-east of the capital Sofia. The Netherlands offered the fighter aircraft to NATO.

Enlarge image F-35 landt op vliegveld in Bulgarije. Besneeuwde bergtop op de achtergrond.
Arrival in Bulgaria.

Of the four aircraft, two will be used to guard the Alliance’s airspace at the eastern flank of the treaty area. The other two F-35s will be in reserve in order to guarantee mission readiness.

The Dutch pilots will perform their duties in cooperation with Bulgarian counterparts.

Enlarge image F-35 in een clamshell.
The aircrafts are stored in clamshells.


The aircraft are now under the command of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat was at Leeuwarden Air Base this morning to see the pilots off.