Bulgaria's Defense Industry Strong on Small Arms & Light Weapons - BMI

Defense | August 12, 2011, Friday // 17:14|  views

The manufacturing of small arms and light weapons as well as of civilian products will continue to dominate Bulgaria's military-industrial complex, according to a report of Business Monitor International (BMI).

"[Bulgaria's] defense industry consists mainly of small companies providing small arms and light weapons - and/or a surprising array of (relatively low technology) civilian products to (overwhelmingly) foreign customers," states BMI's newly released "Bulgaria Defense and Security Report Q4 2011" which is said to be produced by "professionals and strategists with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Bulgaria's defense and security industry."

In evaluating Bulgaria's security risks, and their relation to the country's military production, BMI emphasizes organized crime rather than traditional or terrorist threats.

"In mid-July 2011, it does not appear that the security issues - or the overall situation of Bulgaria's defense industry - have changed significantly. The country faces no obvious threat from inter-state aggression and very limited threat from non-state terrorists,"

BMI says that in part because of its geographic location, with easy access to Eastern Europe and the Middle East and mainly because of low levels of governance, Bulgaria is a hub for organized crime and illegal trafficking of drugs, arms and people, and this will not be affected by the outcome of the presidential election that is due to take place in October, or by the (likely slow) growth of the economy.

BMI points out that recent developments in Bulgaria's defense industry include the government's intention to sell its minority stake in the Arsenal military plant and its renegotiating of arms supply contracts (so that the Defence Ministry buys less or pays less) with (at least) two major Western European suppliers of materiel - Daimler Chrysler and Eurocopter.

"Тhe first of these suggests that the government needs the money that it could raise from selling its holding in the country's largest arms producer more than it needs the control that comes with its 36% stake. The contract renegotiations highlight how the Defence Ministry remains short of cash," the report stresses.

It also mentions that the defence White Paper which was approved by Bulgaria's parliament last year envisages a reduction in size in the country's defense establishment, together with a wholesale reorganisation and modernisation so that all three armed services are inter-operable with their counterparts in other NATO countries.

"In theory, the Defense Ministry will involve the indigenous producers in the modernisation of Bulgaria's armed forces. In reality, it remains to be seen how they will be involved," the BMI report concludes.

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Tags: Defense Ministry, defense industry, Military-industrial complex, armed forces, Bulgarian Army, BMI, Business Monitor International, SALW, small arms and light weapons, Arsenal Kazanlak, Eurocopter, Daimler-Chrysler, arms deals


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