Three companies have submitted bids to supply two new multi-purpose patrol vessels to the Bulgarian Navy, the Defence Ministry said.
The three companies that met the April 16 5pm deadline to submit bids are Fr. Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co.KG of Germany, MTG Delfin AD of Bulgaria, and Fincantieri of Italy.
Prime Minister Boiko Borissov has appointed an inter-ministerial working group, chaired by Deputy Defence Minister Anatoli Velichkov, which will deal with the opening of the offers at the Defence Ministry on April 22.
The working group includes experts and administrative officials from the Ministry of Defence, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Agency for National Security.
The opening of the offers will be followed by an evaluation process and a final report ranking the offers, which will be subject to approval by the Defence Minister and then the Cabinet.
The Bulgarian Navy currently has six naval vessels, three dating from the Soviet era and the rest second-hand former Belgian vessels. The three from the USSR era have difficulties in getting spare parts and are not compatible with the standards of the Nato alliance which Bulgaria joined in 2004.
The project envisages the two new vessels replacing the Soviet-era three.
In July 2018, Bulgaria’s National Assembly approved an updated version of the project, envisaging spending a maximum 984 million leva, value-added tax included (about 503 million euro).
The update followed the failure of the previous attempt to get the acquisition process going, when the Bulgarian company that bid withdrew, apparently over the VAT issue. This led Parliament to amend the envisaged allocation from the sum provided for in 2016.
The project envisages delivery of the first vessel in December 2023 and the second by the end of December 2024.
The National Assembly’s July 2018 vote set new options, first, the purchase of newly-made vessels adapted for the needs of the Navy, or licensed production, or a combination of developing a new product and modifying an existing one, the Defence Ministry said. The ships should be supplied with armaments, the project envisages.
(Archive photo: Bulgaria’s Defence Ministry)