PARIS — Naval Group will pitch its Gowind corvette in response to a Bulgarian tender worth €400 million, equal to $471 million, for two warships, an offer expected to be supported by French President Emmanuel Macron on a planned visit to the Eastern European country, La Tribune reported Monday.
“Sofia recently launched a new competition to acquire two corvettes to equip its Navy,” La Tribune reported about the Bulgarian capital city. Naval Group, formerly DCNS, is interested and will propose the Gowind, which would be armed with MBDA missiles.
Macron is expected “to slip in a word of support for the French Team, which includes Naval Group,” when he meets his Bulgarian counterpart, Rumen Radev, and Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in Sofia on Aug. 25, the report said.
The visit by the French head of state follows Borissov’s trip to Paris in June, when the two countries emphasized the importance of defense cooperation.
“In defense matters, we also discussed our shared outlook, and that I wish to strengthen European defense, that several other countries have shown their wish to head in the same directon, that Bulgaria has a full role to play in this context,” Macron said in a June 6 joint statement with Borissov.
Sofia seeks technology transfer for local industry to work on the two light warships, the report said.
Naval Group and MBDA were not immediately available for comment.
The recent tender follows a competition Bulgaria launched 10 years ago and then canceled due to budgetary problems. In the previous competition, Bulgaria had planned to buy four Gowind corvettes with debt financing arranged with a pool of banks led by French bank Societé Générale and payment guaranteed by the Coface export credit agency. That order for four ships was worth €700 million, equal to $827 million. Armaris, the then 50-50 joint venture between DNCS and Thales, had pitched the 2006 offer.
Bulgaria is also looking to buy fighter jets, considering eight Saab Gripen, second-hand Lockheed Martin F-16 from Portugal and second-hand Italian Eurofighter Typhoons, La Tribune reported. The Bulgarian Army is also looking to buy 200 armored vehicles.