The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) has extended the Joint Production Agreement with Paramount Group, Africa`s largest privately owned defence company, to produce 60 new mine protected vehicles in Baku.
This expansion of the current production facility was announced at IDEF, Turkey's international defence exhibition, and will comprise 30 Marauder and 30 Matador IED and mine-protected vehicles, with deliveries running through to late 2012.
The announcement follows Paramount Group's recent successful establishment of a joint production facility and the production of an initial 30 vehicles (15 Matadors and 15 Marauders) to the Azerbaijan MDI, under a joint production agreement set up in 2009.
Commenting on the new order, the Honourable Minister of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan, Mr Yaver Jamalov, said: “Both Matador and Marauder are highly flexible and advanced IED-protected vehicles that ideally meet the requirements of our armed forces. We chose Paramount Group's vehicles because they are the most technologically advanced on the market and are flexible enough to deal with a variety of situations.
“Since 2009 we have had a robust partnership with Paramount Group based around our firm belief in the creation of a strong local defence industry and we look forward to continuing to benefit from this partnership by further developing Azerbaijan's engineering skills and vehicle production capacity. Partnerships like this show the world that the future of Europe's defence industry is no longer in the hands of a few West European manufacturers.”
Commenting on the new order, Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said: “This agreement is great news for both Paramount Group and Azerbaijan. It shows that our original project to produce 30 vehicles in Azerbaijan has been an outstanding success for all involved and is a testament to the foresight of President Ilham Aliyev in seeking to establish a production base for the future success of the country.
“Paramount Group is a world leader in the development of mine-protected vehicle technology. We apply a 'blank sheet' approach to design which means we develop the most modern technology for our vehicles. Our success in Azerbaijan gives Paramount a firm foothold in Eastern Europe from which to explore future joint production partnerships.
“A key benefit of our continued partnership is that Paramount Group is able to establish joint production facilities with the Ministry of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan, which helps the wider development of high-technology industries and the skilled workforce they require. This 'in-country' approach is key to Paramount Group's philosophy of sharing the economic and technical benefits of hi-tech production with countries where our vehicles are produced.”
Paramount Group is keen to form mutually beneficial partnerships with governments as part of its growth strategy. In 2010 it agreed a joint venture with Ashok Leyland, a leading manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, and earlier this year two more joint ventures were signed. One was with the United Arab Emirates' International Golden Group for the production of vehicles in-country, and the other with Griffon Aerospace Middle East.
The Azerbaijan MDI is exhibiting its production Matador and Marauder vehicles at the International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey, from May 10-13th 2011.