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(DF) Leading Armoured Vehicle Manufacturer Invests Directly in Bulgarian Defence Industry

January 5 (BTA) – A leading international manufacturer of armoured vehicles has begun to make direct investments in the Bulgarian defence industry. International Armored Group (IAG) is putting money into a site in Bulgaria to carry out compulsory tests for compliance with NATO quality and reliability standards, the company said on Wednesday. IAG noted that it has fulfilled its obligations as a subcontractor to Bulgaria’s Samel-90, which signed a contract in 2020 to supply armoured vehicles for the country’s Special Operations Forces. The first 45 vehicles are already in Bulgaria after IAG managed to manufacture them on schedule despite the COVID-19 crisis. In 2021, Bulgaria joined the list of countries where certification tests for armoured vehicles’ compliance with NATO standards can be performed. This became possible after IAG was authorized by the TNO international laboratory in the Netherlands to share in such tests, working in Bulgaria. IAG founding owner Anton Stefov, a Bulgarian who has worked in Canada for many years, has picked Zmeyovo Central Artillery Technical Testing Ground – MoD as a site for vehicle tests involving explosions. A few armoured vehicles have already been successfully tested there and certified. The Institute of Metal Science, Equipment and Technologies with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences has received high marks for its TNT mouldings used in the tests. The Institute’s experts developed and used new technologies for moulding large TNT products. There are plans to hold negotiations for the Institute’s future participation in the working groups of experts who determine and update NATO standards. Stefov’s decision to invest in a testing ground of the Bulgarian Defence Ministry is part of his long-range vision about investing directly in his home country, IAG said. IAG was set up in 1996. It currently employs over 1,000 people. Its largest manufacturing plant is situated in the United Arab Emirates. The company also runs plants in the United States, Canada and Turkey, and offices in Bulgaria, Britain, Iraq, Pakistan and South Africa. IAG supplies armoured vehicles to government organizations, the United Nations and NATO. The company’s Sentinel Armoured Rescue Vehicle was picked by NASA to escort astronauts to spacecraft launch sites. IAG automobiles and ambulances are used by border police and peacekeepers, for personal protection, in the banking sector and the oil industry in various parts of the globe. IAG became one of the world’s first manufacturers to be certified for BRV 2009 VR7, the highest ballistic standard for armoured vehicles, meaning that its products ensure survival in attacks involving explosives and mines. LN/VE Photo: International Armored Group