Minister of National Defence Gabriel Les on Wednesday announced that Parliament approved the initiation by the Ministry of National Defence (MApN) of the award procedure for the acquisition agreements for five F-16 aircraft.
“The acquisition of the five F-16 aircraft yesterday, as Parliament approved the initiation by the Ministry of National Defence of the award procedure for the acquisition of the five planes from the Government of the Republic of Portugal and also of the packages of additional goods and services from the US Government, so that we have final operational capability for this squadron. There are five aircraft that will complete the squadron, (…) there will be a final squadron when we will have all 17 of them,” Les told a press conference.
He also specified that, when received, these aircraft will have the same configuration as the 12 already owned, so that they will form a unitary capability.
Tender for corvettes construction won by French Naval Group, Constanta Shipyard
The association between French company Naval Group and the Constanta Shipyard won the tender for the construction of the multi-functional corvettes, Minister of Defence Gabriel Les made the announcement on Wednesday.
“On July 1, I received from the Armaments Directorate the report by which I was informed about the completion of the specific procedure for the framework-agreement for the multi-functional corvette. According to this info, the winning bid belonged to the French company Naval Group and the Constanta Shipyard,” Gabriel Les told a press conference held at the National Defence Ministry (MApN) headquarters.
He also showed that this is the first programme of such magnitude to provide state of the art military capabilities to the Romanian Navy.
“We are a Black Sea riparian state, we understand very well the changes in the security environment, which is why I believe it is essential we provide the necessary technical force to all army categories, so that they will be able to accomplish their mission,” underscored the Minister of Defence.
He also specified the corvettes will be delivered within a seven-year time span – three years for the first corvette and the next two in the remaining four years.
“The same agreement refers to the modernization of the T22 frigates currently in our endowment,” said the Minister of Defence.
The award procedure for the agreement on the construction of the corvettes got suspended half a year ago after complaints were filed with the court regarding some administrative or criminal aspects. The acquisition procedure for the multi-functional corvettes got suspended in January by the MApN, who notified the Military Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Military Court of Appeals, based on such reasonable suspicions the procedure did not fully observe the law.
The MApN representatives also invoked the ongoing litigation with the Constanta Court of Appeals, in which the Constanta Shipyard, part of the Association with the French Naval Group, asked for the cancellation of the GD 48/2018, as a first obstacle in completing the procedure for announcing the winner of the auction. The Constanta Shipyard asked in October 2018 for the cancellation of the auction, saying that it did not observe the legal framework and the European norms on public procurement. The Constanta Shipyard in February went to the court to retreat its previous complaint.
Moreover, a challenge regarding the award procedure for this agreement was filed by the Italian company Fincantieri, who also submitted a bid in the same tender, in which was also involved the Dutch Group Damen. Fincantieri too gave up his action with the court.
The Romanian Government in 2018 announced the initiation of the acquisition procedures for four multi-functional military corvettes, while the one condition the bidders needed to meet before being awarded the 16 billion euros worth agreement being that the corvettes were to be built by a ship yard in our country.