New armoured vehicles jointly produced by the Azeri Ministry of Defence Industries and Paramount Group, Africa’s largest privately owned defence company, have taken pride of place in Azerbaijan’s 20th anniversary independence parade.

The cream of Azerbaijan’s military forces, including locally manufactured Marauder and Matador mine protected vehicles, took part in the parade held on Sunday 26th June in Azadlig Square, Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan.

For the first time Paramount Group’s highly advanced mine protected vehicles Marauder and Matador were featured in the parade, a major national spectacle attracting huge crowds.

The vehicles are manufactured in Azerbaijan under a joint production agreement signed between Paramount Group and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries (MDI) in 2006.

The joint agreement was recently extended and Paramount Group will now jointly manufacture an additional 60 mine protected vehicles, with deliveries running through to late 2012.

Ivor Ichikowitz, Executive Chairman of Paramount Group, said: "It is great to see our jointly produced vehicles take prime position in this very important national day of celebration. We have developed a very close and successful working relationship with the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Industries – a relationship further strengthened with the agreement to jointly manufacture another 60 Matador and Marauder vehicles.

"This proves 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 firm believer in forming robust bilateral relationships with countries that want to develop a strong local defence industry. This creates economic prosperity for the local population through greater employment and the sharing of hi-tech engineering skills but also contributes to regional security."

The Honourable Minister of Defence Industry of Azerbaijan, Mr Yaver Jamalov, added: "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."

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 a further joint venture was signed with the United Arab Emirates’ International Golden Group for the production of vehicles in-country.