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SOFIA, (BM) – The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense (MoD) begins negotiations with the German company Lurssen for the construction of two modular patrol ships for the needs of the Navy, with the project costing nearly BGN 1 billion [$580 million – ed.], learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Kapital.bg.
According to Defense Minister Krassimir Karakachanov, this will most likely happen today [June 16 – ed.], as the reason for the delay was the epidemic of the new coronavirus.
In practice, the procedure for acquiring the two corvettes was temporarily frozen due to a complaint by the other participant in the race – the Italian defense company Fincantieri, before the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC).
It is not clear what exactly is the fate of the case at the moment, as on May 29 the magistrates classified the proceedings. However, it seems that the dispute is clearly not in favor of Finkantier”, as the Ministry of Defense has already decided to move to the next step and start negotiating with the Germans on the parameters of a possible deal, which, according to Karakachanov, should be concluded by the end of the year at the latest.
As we reported last month, the complaint is probably an attempt to sabotage the modernization program by postponing it by procedural means, according to Kapital sources. If the project is not finalized in parliament by the end of the summer or the beginning of autumn, the agreement with the Germans will hardly be able to be signed in time.
According to unofficial information, the subcontractor of the German military company will be the Bulgarian shipyard Dolphin. The company was determined as the winner in the previous attempt to implement the same project, but withdrew at the last moment, after it turned out to be surprising that 20% VAT should be deducted from the budget. It is also claimed that Dolphin will now have to take on the “rough work” on the project and will construct the hulls of the two corvettes, while Lurrsen will take on the systematic integration of equipment and armaments.