Bulgaria plans to spend up to 2 billion levs ($1.5 billion) on buying and maintaining military equipment by 2020, Defence Minister Anyo Angelov said on Thursday.
Bulgaria -- a NATO and European Union member -- envisages buying fighter aircraft so it can secure its airspace within the alliance's integrated system for anti-missile defence.
The ministry, which has sent letters of interest to the U.S., France, Germany and Sweden about the purchase of eight new or used fighter aircraft, has already received an offer from Saab for its Gripen jets.
Next week, the Defence Ministry will meet representatives of European aerospace and defence group EADS and the U.S. government, Angelov said.
It also expects to receive a response from France's Dassault Aviation and Lockheed Martin Corp.
Angelov has previously said the tender for the fighter jet purchase will take place in 2012.
The Defence Ministry plans to allocate 1.5 percent of annual gross domestic product from its budget to fund the programme, which also envisages the modernisation of its MiG-29 fighters.
(Reporting by Irina Ivanova; Editing by Sophie Hares)