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By Constantin Radut
As promised by the National Defense Minister, Gabriel Les, the decision on the international tender for the acquisition of four multirole corvettes for the Romanian Naval Forces will be taken. Just before January 12, 2019.
The surprise is major. This evening, the Romanian Defense Ministry did not announce the winner, but the completion of a file ... (corruption?!?) sent to the Military Prosecutor's Office.
According to a press release, the State Secretary for Armaments, Andrei Ignat, informed the Minister Gabriel Leş that he had filed a complaint with the Military Prosecutor's Office of the Military Court of Appeal, as there are suspicions about the legal course of the corvette acquisition procedure. The acquisition being suspended until file resolution.
"The Secretary of State informed that the Armaments Department, through his signature, filed a complaint with the Military Prosecutor's Office attached to the Military Appeal Court on reasonable suspicions that the proceeding was lawful. The suspicions are likely to affect the achievement of the national security interest in the Multifunctional Corvette Endowment Program..
According to the cited source, having regard to the notification to the Prosecutor's Office and the fact that on this date there is a litigation to the Constanta Court of Appeal by which Constanta Shipyard SA (Santierul Naval Constanta SA), as part of the "Association between Naval Group France and Constanta Shipyard SA (Santierul Naval Constanta SA) ", calls for" the annulment of GD no. 48/2018 ", the normative act that underpins the above mentioned procedure," the Secretary of State for Armaments, Andrei Ignat, informed about the suspension of the procurement procedure, until the signaled aspects were clarified. "
According to the information available on the courts' portal, there is an administrative and fiscal file open to the Constanta Court of Appeal on October 19, 2018 by SC Santierul Naval Constanta SA requesting the annulment of a "normative administrative act". The first term is scheduled for January 16th.
We remind that the Army should have announced on January 12th who would be the selected constructor to build four multifunctional corvettes in Romania and the modernization and arming of the two Type 22 frigates after the decision was postponed several times at the end of the year last.
The process of acquiring Corvettes for the Navy has already been canceled once a year ago, and the current procedure is already late, although the needs of the Black Sea navy are urgent. The current procurement procedure was started at the end of 2017 / beginning 2018 with the adoption of Government Decision 48/2018.
What are the bidders who have qualified and what solutions they have proposed:
- Naval Group - Gowind 2500 ship and European MBDA missile defense solutions: Small VL missile and missile anti-aircraft Exocet. Price bid (by sources): 1.2 billion
- Damen - Sigma 10514 corvette with US arming solutions: Boeing's anti-ship missile, Raytheon's anti-aircraft missile, General Dynamics sonar and Thales tactical system. Price bid (by sources): 1.25 billion euros.
- Fincantieri - an Abu Dhabi based corvette - called Abu Dhabi Enhanced - and European defense solutions with MBDA missiles: VL Small Air Missiles and anti-ship missiles Exocet. Offered price (by sources): 1.34 billion euros.
The technical details of the corvette acquisition procedure:
- Estimated (maximum) value of the business : € 1.6 billion with VAT.
- The purchase procedure has the lowest price as the factor of differentiation, as long as the technical requirements requested by the Romanian state are fulfilled by the bidders.
- The ships will have to be built in Romania within seven years, and the first will have to be delivered only three years after contracting.
- Compensation component: modernization and arming of the two frigates Type 22 - King Ferdinand and Queen Mary.
- Basic technical requirements: to be able to fight in at least two different environments (anti-air / anti-submarine / anti-ship) and be able to operate a 10-ton helicopter in a hangar, but also drone.
So the Corvette War: deadline after January 16, 2018.