08 October 2018

INTERVIEW/ Miles Chambers, manager Business Development, NIMR: We would look at doing technology transfer, localizing the manufacturing in Romania

Mircea Olteanu

Image source: Mediafax

Reporter: Where is Romania placed on your company’s business interest map?

Miles Chambers: NIMR first introduction to the Romanian market was in 2016, when it was a tender for 286 4x4 vehicles, the tender ultimately didn't proceed to conclusion and since them we've been quite active on the market, in terms of homologating our products to local Romanian standards, in order for us to ensure that our vehicle meets the requirements of the Romanian standards, and of course in addition to that, so we meet all the NATO standards. I think that the Romanian market is very important to us, there are large acquisition programs coming up in which we're looking to participate, we've been meeting with several industrial partners, with whom we are looking to collaborate should we will be successful in the upcoming tenders. We would look at doing technology transfer, localizing the manufacturing in Romania, as well as, obviously, broadening the supply chain in Romania, which would give work not just to the joint venture company, but also to broader industry. So we will be looking at bringing the technology, our technology in the vehicles manufacturing, and partnering with a local Romanian entity.

Reporter: What are the main challenges faced on the European market by an arms producer from outside EU?

Miles Chambers: I think that, on one side, it is a challenge because currently a lot of the countries in EU look to other EU member countries. But in fact, the advantage for countries considering non-EU member states for such technologies is that, as a result of us not being in the EU, the obligation on us to transfer the technology means that we genuinely have to transfer it to Romania, whereas within EU, the same level of technology transfer might not be required. So, in fact, partnering with NIMR as an OEM would mean a much higher level of technology transfer and localization of the product here in Romania.

Reporter: What are the chances of a joint acquisition programme involving several countries in the region?

Miles Chambers: There is the Visegrad community of Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, and they have several acquisition programs within the next 2 to 5 years. I think there are still challenges in a real coordination for joint acquisition programs. I think we haven't seen that level of integration in these acquisitions as maybe everybody would like. I think perhaps an acquisition by one country might influence the decision of another to acquire the same, like we often see between Netherlands and Belgium, and Belgium and France, but at the end of the day all programs would be run independently. (...) I do believe that once there is one country that makes the first acquisition, others may follow to ensure commonality. We would like an opportunity where there was a more consolidated acquisition program as governed by a joint body across all these countries in the region, but the same requirement, as Romania wants to see localization and the growth of its industry, you're going to find the same from the other countries. So perhaps, if there's an adoption of one platform in a particular market, other countries will opt for something else just to also drive the local industry, so it's quite a challenge, I think, to get from all parties the level of interest and investment in their respective economies

Reporter: What are the main lessons learned following the use of NIMR products in combat operations?

Miles Chambers: From the original design, you design these products with the intention to use them in operational environment, but no testing or design can really cater to real experience. NIMR has 2.500 vehicles in service, and out of all the vehicles deployed in operational theatres we've had no fatalities. So, we know that the level of protection we provide and design into our products it's proof of company's capability, but of course we take a lot of feedback from our users in terms of operational experience and we incorporate those new requirements and operational experience into the design for future products. And we do that by having a very close working relationship with our customers, to make sure that we have that feedback, because ultimately that allows us to provide them a better vehicle for future needs.