At the end of his meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, yesterday, Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev gave his approval for the immediate opening of negotiations for the procurement of four Gowind-class corvettes.
A bilateral working group is to be established with the goal of finalizing the contract by the end of the year, according to DCNS, which thanks to this contract will be able to re-enter the market for corvette-size ships from which it has been absent for 25 years.
“This project is our first success with the Gowind new-generation corvette design. Furthermore, this milestone will now open new marketing horizons for this ship design, for which the world market is growing as many navies modernize or replace their fleets,” says Bernard Planchais, deputy CEO of DCNS.
Displacing 1,000 to 2,000 tonnes, the Gowind corvettes are directly derived from the basic design and technologies of the FREMM European Multi-Mission Frigates, which will be the major surface combatants of the French and Italian navies.
“This programme primarily concerns the DCNS shipyard in Lorient, and will also involve the Bulyard Shipbuilding Industry (BSI) in Varna, Bulgaria, which will carry out a substantial part of the construction work as part of a technology transfer agreement that will generate significant economic benefits in Bulgaria,’ according to DCNS. The company however did not state the work-share that will go to its French shipyards.
French trade unions want the lead ship to be built in-house, and fear that more work will be out-sourced to Bulgarian than was initially planned.
The value of the Bulgarian contract for the four Gowind corvettes is estimated at about 900 million euros.
DCNS: Bulgaria Gives Green Light to French Corvettes