Georgian Ministry of Defense (MoD) said it would maintain military industrial enterprise and continue working on development and manufacturing of combat vehicles, launched by the previous government.
Speaking at the National Defense Academy in Gori on January 29, President Saakashvili said that there were discussions within the Ministry of Defense whether to keep or not military research-technical center Delta. The latter unites number of factories, including Tbilisi Aircraft Manufacturing (TbilAviaMsheni or TAM), which was taken over by the state in 2010 as part of the previous government’s drive to develop domestic military industrial complex. It has manufactured infantry fighting vehicle Lazika and wheeled armored vehicle Didgori.
President Saakashvili said “it will be a huge mistake” if Georgia says no to military industrial complex.
Deputy Defense Minister, Zaza Broladze, said in response that the President “has been misled”.
“The Georgian Ministry of Defense has no intention to abolish military industrial enterprise Delta,” Broladze said.
“On the contrary, if previously military combat vehicles Lazika and Didgori had been designed according to the taste of certain politicians, currently a new management of Delta is actively working together with the professional military instructors and experts in order to take into consideration their competent opinion,” the Deputy Defense Minister said.
When asked about the future of Delta, Defense Minister Irakli Alasania said in an interview with the Georgian weekly newspaper, Kviris Palitra, in early January: “Delta now has a new management… I am sure that financial irresponsibility that was in place in Delta will be put to an end.”
Asked about PM Ivanishvili’s skepticism over military production in Georgia, which he voiced during his pre-election campaign ahead of the October elections, Alasania responded that the Prime Minister was intending to visit Delta.
“It’s hard to believe in its potential if you don’t see it. I was doubtful too about whether we can produce military vehicles or not. We can, if we plan properly and if there is a right management in place. It depends on market, production cost and profitability. I hope we will be able to create military industry and to employ people,” Alasania said in early January.