The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) has extended a joint production agreement with the Paramount Group and has ordered the joint construction of 60 new mine protected vehicles in Baku. The order consists of 30 Marauder and 30 Matador 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 Matador and 15 Marauders) to the Azerbaijan MDI, under a joint production agreement set up in 2009.
Marauder is an IED and mine protected vehicle designed to operate in built-up and confined urban settings. It can carry of crew of ten and be configured as either a troop carrier or combat vehicle. In addition to its excellent blast protection Marauder is fitted with a double-skinned hull throughout the cabin and crew compartment to protect it against kinetic attack up to STANAG 4569 Level III.
Matador carries a crew of 14 and was conceived for long range military or peacekeeping operations with the ability to handle the most rugged and demanding terrains. It also has a top speed of 100 km/h and will protect its crew from 14 kg TNT detonated directly underneath the hull or 21 kg of TNT if detonated under any wheel, without rupture to the hull.
Commenting on the new order, the country’s Minister of Defence Industry, 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 the 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,” Ichkovitz added.
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 exhibited its production Matador and Marauder vehicles at the International Defence Industry Fair in Istanbul, Turkey, last week.