It is essential to establish a targeted and consistent national policy on the development of industrial cooperation projects within the framework of the contracts for the acquisition of military equipment and equipment for the needs of the Bulgarian Armed Forces. This was said by Deputy Minister of Economy and Industry Irina Shctonova at the opening of the annual AFCEA TechNet 2023 conference “Technological Challenges and the Place of the Bulgarian Army in Collective Defence and Security”. She stressed that this step will create an opportunity for Bulgarian industry to develop and expand its production capacity and will have a positive effect on the business environment in the country. This will ensure the security of supply in the maintenance and repair of the purchased equipment: The Bulgarian defence industry should develop and expand its production capacity through industrial cooperation.
In her words, the dynamics and changes in the international security environment pose challenges to the defence capabilities of NATO and EU member states and require the allocation of significant financial resources for investments in key defence capabilities. “The Ministry of Economy and Industry sees these developments in a broader context, namely as opportunities that our defence industry must seize to expand and modernise its production and achieve the desired technological renewal,” she added.
Deputy Minister Shtonova encouraged the participants in the conference to be more active and to make the most of the opportunities provided by the current programmes and initiatives within NATO and the EU such as: DIANA initiative, NATO Innovation Fund, European Defence Fund. “The recently adopted Act in support of ammunition production (ASAP) has a budget of €500 million and will offer grants to European companies wishing to set up new production facilities in the field of munitions and missile systems, as well as to increase or restructure existing production lines,” the deputy economy minister added.
During the conference, Deputy Minister Shtonova was awarded a plaque on the occasion of the long-standing cooperation between the Ministry of Economy and Industry and AFCEA Sofia Section.