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DSEI 2023: IAG eyes European market with Bulgarian factory

The 4×4 Rila Xtreme mine-resistant ambush-protected armoured vehicle was featured at DSEI 2023 alongside the 4×4 Guardian Xtreme. (Janes/Christopher Petrov)

International Armored Group (IAG) is looking to expand further into the European market with the construction of a production facility in Bulgaria.

Sally Stefova-Valliant, vice-president of sales and marketing at IAG, told Janes that the company hopes to offer potential European customers a variety of armoured vehicles by opening a new facility on the Black Sea port of Burgas. Expected to open in the summer of 2024, the Burgas facility will be the company's first manufacturing site located in a European Union (EU) country.

The company has delivered on contracts for customers in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Given the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, European states are keen to update and replace legacy equipment with more modern solutions. In particular, Eastern European countries that make heavy use of Soviet-designed equipment are keen to equip their forces with NATO-standard vehicles.

IAG has earlier sold the 4×4 Guardian Xtreme in various configurations to the Bulgarian Land Forces. With renewed efforts by Sofia to look for new 8×8 armoured personnel carriers, IAG is offering its 8×8 Rila design that would be manufactured locally at the new Burgas facility, providing an armoured vehicle production capability Bulgaria has lacked since the Cold War. There is also chance for collaboration between IAG and local companies operating in the defence sector. Aside from local orders, the facility could meet demand from other European countries for a variety of equipment that IAG produces.

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