Bulgarian BMP-30 Production Run Fizzling Out?

NEWTOWN, Conn. — Open-source reporting suggests production of the BMP-30 was restarted sometime in 2005 for Bulgarian Army procurement. In 2006 and 2007, the BRM-23 production line was reportedly active for a limited production run. The BMP-23/BMP-23A production line remains dormant.

In 1987, Bulgaria embarked on a program to develop an indigenous mechanized infantry combat vehicle based on the MT-LB. The Bulgaria State Factories originally developed the BMP-23 and BMP-30; the Terem Joint Stock Company took over production in the early 1990s.

The basic Bulgarian BMP/BRM design consists of a modified MT-LB chassis, mounting either an indigenously designed turret (BMP-23 and BRM-23) or the Russian BMP-2 turret (BMP-30). The all-welded steel armor provides protection against 7.62mm AP rounds and ballistic fragments.

The Terem Joint Stock Company continues to offer these vehicles on the international market. To date, however, the Bulgarian Army has been the only buyer; we estimate 247 vehicles are currently in Bulgarian Army service.

As Bulgaria has now achieved its goal of NATO membership, we expect Terem will upgrade its BMP-30 and BRM-23 lines to NATO standards. This effort could include integration of Western drivetrain and electronic components in an attempt to make the vehicles more attractive on the international market.

The BMP-30 may be in its final years of low-rate production for Bulgarian Army procurement. Modernization and retrofit work will likely bring existing vehicles up to NATO standards.

While the BMP-23, BMP-30, and BRM-23 will never be a major factor on the international market, these vehicles continue to provide the Bulgarian Army with a relatively modern mechanized capability. Renewed production and modernization/retrofit work could become a significant source of revenue for the prime contractor by 2020.

Source: Forecast

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