Interview of Yavor Stamatov with Academician Stefan Vodenicharov and Boyko Noev
A long-term strategy for the development of the defense industry in Bulgaria should be established, Academician Stefan Vodenicharov, Co-Chairman of the Bulgarian Defense Industry Association (BDIA), said Sunday 150 at the Bulgarian National Radio.
The Association and the leaders of the two Unions asked for a meeting with Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov and Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov to discuss the state’s vision for the participation of the military-industrial complex in the modernization of the Bulgarian Army.
Acad. Vodenicharov explained: “There are a few things that we want to discuss with the two ministers. First, participation of the defense industry in the three programs for modernization of the Bulgarian Army; creating conditions and funding for the research and training of defense industry personnel; the issue of innovation and the issue of wartime stocks. There must be a long-term strategy for the development of the defense industry. There are no special branches related to the defense industry in the Research Fund and the Innovation Fund. Even the EU two years ago realized that it could not help anything else without security research, but in Bulgaria these things did not happen. It was hard to make the education college in the defense industry in Kazanlak. Staff training in many areas in Bulgaria is no longer being carried out. We can not always go as representatives of Bulgaria on the world market with a very good reputation, not having the trained staff to create the new products. We are and perhaps one of the few countries that at world fairs with a national stand”.
Vodenicharov pointed out that companies accusing the BDIA in pursuing private interests are only those subordinate to the Ministry of Economy. Members of the Association are currently 18 companies. TEREM, which is state-owned, remains a member of the BDIA. It is under the authority of the Ministry of Defense.
Vodenicharov had no contact with Economy Minister Emil Karanikolov. “We tried to get in touch, but we could not find it”.
According to Vodenicharov, a new comprehensive strategy for the development of our defense industry is needed.
The academician was impressed by Serbia’s stand at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi and the Serbian armored transports, which are the kind that Bulgaria wants to buy.
He reported that in the past year there has been a decline in “certain areas” of arms sales, but he is optimistic after talks in Abu Dhabi.
Traditional markets for Bulgaria are currently developing their own defense industry, he said. “Which means that we need to invest money in innovation to move forward with new, efficient products. This is the future.”
“I think things in the industry will go well. The problem is the development of new types of products and the question of cadres – these are the hard questions facing us, “said the scientist, who is firmly convinced that a large part of the privatized military enterprises have been” rescued by the people who have committed to them privatize.”
Vodenicharov has over 40 articles accepted by NATO. At the last exhibition on the Bulgarian side it presented the world’s first submerged jamming system and a device that breaks 100 millimeters of bumper at 60 m distance.
“Other companies have also shown unique things. Indeed, Bulgarians are very inventive and should be assisted, not to be prevented from developing their activities”, Vodenicharov said.