Bulgaria 'Can Jointly Produce APCs' with US

Politics » DEFENSE | April 27, 2015, Monday // 11:44
Bulgaria: Bulgaria 'Can Jointly Produce APCs' with US

Bulgaria's government should allocate more money to defense, President Rosen Plevneliev's Defense and Security Secretary Atanas Samandov has said.

He told daily Pressa that several projects could be developed to boost the military industry, citing the example of prospective cooperation with US companies on armored personnel carriers.

Comments of reserve Gen Samandov came hours before the beginning of a Consultative Council for National Security at Bulgaria's Presidency in the capital Sofia.

In a Monday interview with the Bulgarian National Television, Plevneliev's Defense and Security Secretary opined that Bulgaria's previously well-developed "military industrial complex... could be restored" to generate profit for the country. He added that the state of the current equipment, which is outdated, carries quite a big risk to the personnel.

He warned that, if Bulgaria remains without an aircraft fleet (which might be the case if no repair works are made on the outdated MiGs), fighters of other NATO members will be deployed to perform air policing missions over Bulgaria's airspace.

In his words, President Plevneliev and Defense Minister Nenchev both agree on modernization plans, since the head of state is quite familiar with the army's needs.

Problems with the aircraft were tabled four years ago, but "we lost these four years", Gen Samandov has said.

Samandov stressed the Bulgarian Armed Forces had to meet NATO requirements, while the government had to hold on to the alliance's plans for boosting each member country's defense expenditure to, which should be increased to 2% of GDP over the years.

"What has been designed as a resource [for 2015] is too little for the Bulgarian army. What has been planned for 2015 is 1.19% of GDP. You known how much the environment has changed," he stated. At the same time, Samandov made clear that, with the exception of the UK, all other EU member states were also facing the same problem.

Earlier, Samandov said in an interview with the Bulgarian National Radio that the army was "one of the structures which underwent most changes in the last 25 years."

He underlined that troops had assisted the local population in most disasters and emergency situations across Bulgaria.

In his words, the world has now become multipolar, with terrorist group "such as ISIL [Islamic State] and the influx of refugees pointed as serious challenges.

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Tags: Atanas Samandov, Rosen Plevneliev, Consultative Council for National Security, NATO, aircraft, fighters
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