WARSAW, Poland — Romania’s Ministry of National Defence has unveiled plans to acquire new corvettes for the country’s Navy to boost its capacities in the Black Sea. This accompanies efforts by neighboring ally Bulgaria, which is also pursuing a program to acquire new vessels.

The Romanian ministry has submitted a draft bill to the country’s parliament under which four vessels are to be purchased in a deal estimated to be worth €1.6 billion (U.S. $1.93 billion). The procurement is scheduled for 2018 to 2024, according to the ministry. Under the plan, the acquisition will be implemented through the state-run defense company Romtehnica, which acts as an intermediary in various contracts for the supply of foreign-made weapons and military equipment.

The draft bill states that the selected contractor must own a shipyard in Romania, located “on the Black Sea and/or on the Danube river” shore and must be owned by a company headquartered in a NATO member state, according to the information obtained by local daily Romania Libera. This means that the only admissible participant of the planned tender is Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group, which operates a facility in Galati, in eastern Romania.

Neighboring Bulgaria has also launched a tender to purchase two new corvettes, with some 820 million leva (U.S. $503 million) allocated for the acquisition. The potential acquisition of Gowind-class vessels, produced by France’s DCNS and armed with missiles made by MBDA, was discussed during the recent visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Bulgaria, as reported by Defense News.

Both Romania and Bulgaria have accelerated their Navy modernization efforts since Russia annexed the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula in 2014.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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