First batch of special forces vehicles reaches Bulgaria
Bulgaria in late December 2021 received the first 45 new armoured vehicles out of 98 on order for its SOF.
The armoured tactical vehicles are made by the SAMARM JV between Bulgarian manufacturer Samel 90 and UAE-based International Armored Group.
Samel 90 expects to complete the project by the end of 2022 — 12 months ahead of the original deadline.
‘The vehicles have a large and reliable engine, they are comfortable and protected, [and] they have all the necessary technical equipment for the specific activity of the Special Forces,’ said Bulgarian Chief of Defence Adm Emil Eftimov.
‘We have given a hand to the Bulgarian defence industry,’ he added in a statement posted on the Bulgarian MoD website.
Maj Gen Yavor Mateev, chief of Bulgarian SOF, said that the best-protected vehicles will be used for counter-terrorism missions or ‘direct action’, with the more lightly armoured vehicles to be allocated for tasks requiring greater mobility.
The exact types of vehicle involved in the contract remain undisclosed, although Shephard reported in 2018 that the JV partners developed a number of APC prototypes. SAMARM is known to offer the Guardian 4x4 APC, Guardian Max light tactical vehicle and Rila MRAP vehicle, all of which are manufactured by IAG.
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