Romania Announces Naval Initiatives

The Romanian government announced on July 3 the selection of France’s Naval Group and local partner Santierul Naval Constanta (SNC) to provide four new-build Gowind multimission corvettes to the Romanian Navy.  In addition, the Franco-Romanian tie-up will be charged with upgrading the Navy’s two legacy Type 22 Broadsword class frigates acquired from retired U.K. Royal Navy stocks in 2002.  As part of the overall package, a maintenance center and training center will also be created.

Romania’s Defense Ministry announced in 2018 its aim to move forward with the acquisition of four naval ships at a cost of around EUR1.6 billion ($1.8 billion).

A previous project involving four Damen 10514 multirole corvettes was canceled shortly after being launched in 2016 due to procedural irregularities.

A new bill, approved in February 2018 by the Romanian Parliament, stated that the contractor selected for this project must own a shipyard in Romania that is operated by an entity in an EU or NATO member state, thus narrowing the candidates down to one shipbuilder, Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands, which owns a ship facility in Galati, eastern Romania.  The Constanta-Naval Group consortium protested the process.

After opting to drop their objections, the Defense Ministry announced in February 2019 that the project would finally move forward.  Three competitors were involved in the contest, including Damen, once again, and Italy’s Fincantieri.

The bid put forth by SNC (submitted at EUR1.2 billion) premised continued Romanian sovereignty and autonomy in the naval sector due to the through-life project assistance and knowledge-sharing provided by Naval Group, thus assuaging government concerns.

Romania’s Defense Ministry also has plans in the pipeline for the acquisition of three new submarines after 2020, plus a naval-use drone for surveillance within the Danube flotilla and coastal patrolling along the Black Sea.

The moves will allow Romania to act as a security provider in the Black Sea region alongside its NATO partners.

Significant annual hikes to the country’s defense budget post-2014 have provided the Defense Ministry with more room to execute procurement orders.  Between 2014 and 2018, the Romanian defense earmark leaped by an average rate of 29 percent.  The budget is expected to grow by 9 percent in the current year.

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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