PARIS – Norway may have picked on Friday Germany and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems for a fiercely fought submarine order, but French archrival DCNS is waiting in the wings if a deal with Berlin fails to materialize.
"We remain at Norway's disposal to re-engage the discussion, especially if the cooperation planned with the German government would not reach an agreement," DCNS said in a statement following Olso's selection of Germany on a planned joint purchase of the type 212 boat from TKMS.
The French naval shipbuilder said it regretted, but accepted, the Norwegian decision. DCNS claimed its offer, based on the Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarine, had better technology.
"We remain convinced that our offer was superior, in particular in the anti-submarine warfare area, crucial for operations and patrols in the High North," DCNS said.
DCNS is majority owned by the government, with Thales holding 35 percent.
French newspapers Le Monde and La Tribune reported Germany had helped the TKMS offer by ordering two of the class 212 boat for the Germany Navy, so lowering the unit cost of the attack submarine. The Norwegian deal was worth €4 billion ($4.3 billion), both papers said.
Olso made that selection after a series of rival presentations last year from DCNS and TKMS, cutting short a tender which had previously been expected to take up most of this year.
Norway will open final negotiations with Germany to reach a government-to-government agreement, and when that accord is reached, Oslo will start talks with TKMS, the Norwegian defense ministry said.
"After a comprehensive evaluation process, the Norwegian government decided on Germany as strategic partner for new submarines," the Norwegian ministry said. "The partnership is based on a German-Norwegian common purchase and lifetime management of identical, new submarines," the ministry added.
With additional reporting by Gerard O'Dwyer.