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(DF) Bulgarian Company to Supply 98 Armoured Vehicles to Special Operations Forces

December 8 (BTA) – Bulgaria’s Special Operations Forces (SOF) will acquire 98 combat vehicles of ten types at the cost of 49,998,000 leva. The materiel will be supplied by the Bulgarian manufacturer Samel-90 under a contract signed here on Tuesday by Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov and Samel-90 Executive Director Peter Georgiev, Karakachanov’s Ministry said in a press release. Supply will start in mid-2021 and must be completed within three years. Samel-90, which is based in Samokov (Southwestern Bulgaria), will maintain the vehicles and replace consumables during a five-year warranty period. The ten types of combat and specialized vehicles with off-road capability and various degrees of protection will ensure SOF’s personnel mobility when performing missions across the spectrum and in combating terrorism. The combat vehicles come complete with automatically controlled weapons. Repairs will be carried out at a technical centre to be set up in Plovdiv (South Central Bulgaria), where most of SOF’s elements are based. The centre will be manned by enlarging the SOF’s logistics battalion. Karakachanov said the signing of the treaty was “yet another useful step towards enhancing the Armed Forces’ capabilities. The Special Forces will acquire new equipment which will enable them to be much more effective and useful in defending Bulgaria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and in performing the rest of their missions as part of their constitutional duties.” The Defence Minister also said: “This is a patriotic deed – in addition to enhancing the capabilities of our Special Forces, we are supporting the Bulgarian economy on Bulgarian taxpayers’ money rather than letting it be drained somewhere abroad and having Bulgaria regarded as a colony that is supposed to import everything.” Karakachanov said it makes sense to develop capabilities in Bulgaria, which ensures more affordable maintenance and repairs. Georgiev said Samel-90 sells its products to some 30 countries around the world, but this is the first order placed by the Bulgarian Armed Forces in nearly 15 years. Major General Yavor Mateev, Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, said this is a “historic moment” for the SOF, adding that “this is the first contract of such a scope and future importance for SOF’s operational capabilities and for the fulfilment of our core responsibilities under the National Plan for Combating Terrorism”. The Chief of Defence, Admiral Emil Eftimov, and the Deputy Chiefs of Defence, Lieutenant General Dimiter Iliev and Lieutenant General Tsanko Stoykov, along with Deputy Defence Ministers Atanas Zapryanov and Anatoliy Velichkov, also attended the signing ceremony. RI/DD //