PARIS --- Argentina has decided to finalize the acquisition of four Adroit-class OPV-90 offshore patrol vessels from France’s Naval Group, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the Argentine newspaper La Nacion after meeting here with his Argentine counterpart, Jorge Faurie.
The sale had initially been agreed while Le Drian was defense minister in the previous French administration, but was subsequently suspended by Argentine President Mauricio Mori over the price, which he judged excessive.
Meeting French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum, Macri asked for a price reduction, which resulted in a Naval Group team returning to Buenos Aires to present a new offer, which was accepted.
"The technical offer was accepted, now we are discussing the payment methods of these vessels," Faurie told La Nacion newspaper after meeting Le Drian. “The final price, which was decided after Naval Group traveled to Argentina, was much closer to the quotes that the country received from the other shipyards," Faurie said referring to two other competitors for the contract, a Chinese shipyard and Spain’s Navantia.
“With evident satisfaction, Le Drian evoked the final agreement reached between Buenos Aires and Paris for the purchase,” La Nacion said, adding that Le Drian said “The principle has been accepted and the operation be concluded soon."
The deal covers four Gowind-class offshore patrol vessels, including three new-build boats and the original Gowind ship, L’Adroit, which was operated under a cost-free lease by the French Navy to validate the design.
Developed and financed by Naval Group as a private venture, Gowind-class vessels have been purchased by Egypt (four ships), and Malaysia (six ships).