First of Navy's Two Multipurpose Patrol Craft Should Be Completed in 2020

Varna, on the Black Sea, November 17 (BTA) - Defence Minister Krassimir Karakachanov said here on Friday that the first of two multipurpose patrol craft for the Navy should be built in 2020.

The Defence Minister attended the marking of the 120th anniversary of the Varna Naval Base.

An interagency working group said earlier in the week that Bulgaria's MTG-Dolphin PLC met the technical and financial requirements for tenders for the acquisition of a modular patrol craft for the Navy. The technical parameters of MTG-Dolphin's offer meet, and are even better, than the requirements set.

The quality of project implementation and the transfer of cutting edge technology is guaranteed by the company's framework agreements with five leading companies: France's multinational Thales Group, Germany's Diehl Defence, Italy's Leonardo, France's MBDA and Swiss-German Rheinmetall. With an experience in building more than 160 ships, Thales will do the system integration. The US will supply the engines and diesel generators.

Navy Commander Rear Admiral Mitko Petev said that 932 parameters of MTG-Dolphin offer were assessed and all of them fully met the technical requirements for the patrol craft. Forty per cent of the parameters were even better than required.

In late October the Bulgarian Defence Ministry announced it had received a single bid. Of the other six companies which had expressed an interest, four said they were unable to place a bid and two failed to reply.

The two ships are to be built within five years and the first of them must be completed by the end of the third year, 2020, said Karakachanov. After a contractor is selected, the contract will be drawn up, signed and started to be implemented.

The Defence Minister also said that the 100-million-lev increase in defence spending in 2018 will be used to open 1,300 full-time positions for military personnel. He specified that the Armed Forces now have slightly over 5,500 unfilled vacancies.

Source: Varna, on the Black Sea