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Bulgarian military pilots to train on MiG-29 flight simulator in Serbia

SOFIA, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarian military pilots will train on a MiG-29 flight simulator in Serbia, according to an agreement signed here on Monday by Air Force officials of the two Balkan neighbors.

The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense said in a press release that the agreement was signed during a meeting of the country's Defence Minister Angel Naydenov and his Serbian counterpart Nebojsa Rodic.

The two ministers outlined military education, military medicine, military police, and military geography as areas for expanding bilateral cooperation, the press release said.

A NATO member since 2004, Bulgaria has 15 MiG-29 fighters that make up the backbone of its current air defense.

However, in 2010 the Defense Ministry alarmed in its annual report that because of "insufficient number" of fighters and budget restrictions, the training of the Bulgarian military pilots was "far below NATO standards."

From the required 180 flight hours for pilot per year, only pilots engaged with the Air Policing duties had about 40 flight hours annually, while the other staff was actually closer to "retraining in infantry," the ministry said.

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