For the past decade, a Bulgarian electronics company has successfully joined forces with a UK-based company that provides marine radar systems in a glowing example of Bulgarian-British co-operation.
Samel 90 makes electronic components and then builds and tests radar sub-assemblies for Sperry Marine radars which are provided to customers all over the world. It's a glowing example of two companies providing skills that complement each other to fine-tune their production, Samel 90's technical expertise and low-cost production capabilities allied to Sperry Marine's radar technology and global reach.
Samel 90 plc, one of the members of the Bulgarian Defence Industry Association (BDIA), is the only company in the country with experience in the manufacture of defence electronic equipment.
Litton Marine systems is the successor to the Decca Marine Group which manufactured gramophones and then gramophone records under the Decca label. During World War 2, the company developed the Decca navigation system, which was first used on D-Day to assist Allied minesweepers and troopships. The Decca navigator system was introduced to commercial markets in 1946 and in 1950 Decca launched its first marine radar product – another product created of wartime necessity and later commercialised.
In the late 1990s, competition became so intense that Little Marine Systems came to Bulgaria looking for partners to help them manufacture quality radars at more competitive prices.
So, in 2001 Samel 90 Company and Litton Marine Systems, now part of Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine Company, met and laid the grounds for the ongoing partnership.
At first Litton was sending materials and Samel 90 was only assembling and testing the ready units. In time, Samel assumed full responsibility and started managing the supply chain. Half the materials are manufactured locally, the other half imported from different Western companies.
Each week a van loaded with radar products travels from Bulgaria to Sperry’s Netherlands office and then to the UK.
Over 11 years of successful cooperation, Samel 90 have manufactured 14 000 radar systems, which Northrop Grumman Sperry Marine sold to customers all over the world.