The Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to establish an 800-member special operations unit, which will take part in international counterterrorist operations.

Standart News reported that the new unit will be fully operational in 2012 and will be provided with training in combat strategies and military tactics similar to those used by the US marines.

The special operations unit commandos will defend the national security of the nation and engage in real combat situations under NATO command.

According to the MoD, the training and technical equipment, including tactical weapons and special combat devices required for the first battalion combat group, will cost 492.7m leva ($361.5m).