Minister Nikolov: A new approach to innovation is needed to ensure defence competitiveness

Minister Nikolov: A new approach to innovation is needed to ensure defence competitiveness

To ensure the competitiveness and sustainability of the defence sector, a new approach to innovation is needed, in particular to so-called disruptive technologies. This was said by the Minister of Economy and Industry Dr. Petko Nikolov during a seminar on ‘Innovations in the Bulgarian Defence Industry and the Modernisation of the Bulgarian Army’ at the UNWE. The forum was also attended by Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Dr. David Sukalinski, Deputy Minister of Innovation and Growth Dr. Georgi Angelov, MPs and representatives of the arms business. The event was held under the patronage of Minister Nikolov and Minister of Defence Atanas Zapryanov.

According to the economic minister, in order to accelerate the pace of innovation in the defence sector, closer interaction between the civilian, military, research and innovation communities is needed. ‘New technologies are transforming the security and defence sectors and blurring the boundaries between the civilian and military spheres’, Minister Nikolov said.

According to him, Bulgaria should make full use of the comparative advantages that our defence industry, which specialises in the production of small arms, ammunition, communication systems, armoured protective technical means, optical equipment, etc., already has. The Minister added that this is a significant industrial capacity that Bulgaria should take advantage of.

Dr. Petko Nikolov emphasized that our country’s membership in NATO and the EU opens new opportunities for a full transatlantic partnership and includes our industry as a partner in the supply chains of many global manufacturers of defense products and technologies. Therefore, the defence sector should use this potential to expand and modernise its production and achieve the desired technological renewal, the minister said.

He assured that the Ministry of Economy and Industry will continue to promote and support the business as well as work towards establishing the industry as a competitive, European and global producer.

During the discussions, Deputy Minister Dr. David Sukalinski announced that the development of science in the security sector should be business-oriented because such cooperation will create real prerequisites for high-tech solutions and ideas.

He presented the opportunities that the European programmes and initiatives open for the defence industry and for our research organisations, institutions and academic centres working in the field of security and defence. Among them, the Deputy Minister mentioned the European Defence Fund, the European Defence Industry Programme and the instrument for strengthening the European defence industry through joint procurement.