Romania Scraps France’s Naval Group Contract for Warships Tender

Romania Annuls Warship Tender Awarded to France’s Naval Group Following Contract Standstill

Romania has officially revoked the warship tender that had been granted to France’s Naval Group, as the absence of a signed contract prompted the decision.

Back in 2019, the French defense giant secured a substantial 1.2 billion euros ($1.3 billion) deal for the construction of four Gowind corvettes and the refurbishment of an additional two vessels, working in collaboration with Romanian enterprise Constanta Shipyard.

Despite the shared interest of both NATO-affiliated nations to enhance security in the Black Sea—a region that has gained escalating significance since Russia’s complete incursion into Ukraine the previous year—the intended contract never materialized.

In an official statement, Romania’s Ministry of Defence stated, “The decision to terminate the specific procedure was made due to the fact that the successful tenderer failed to execute the framework agreement within the stipulated timeframe.”

Competing for the same contract, the Dutch firm Damen secured the second position. However, Romania clarified that insufficient funds are available to match Damen’s proposal. The press release further explained, “The necessary funding to designate the runner-up economic operator as the victor was not identified.”

Various reports in the Romanian media have speculated about the unfulfilled agreement, attributing the lack of conclusion to potential alterations sought in the initial contract terms, particularly concerning financial considerations.

The entire tender process had previously been marred by controversies. Domestic media sources indicated that Romanian officials had previously attempted to obstruct Naval Group’s bid, purportedly driven by political motivations, in favor of awarding the contract to Damen.

Prompted by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Romania, a NATO member since 2004, escalated its defense expenditure to 2.5 percent of its GDP in 2023, a rise from the two percent allocated the previous year. The country has concurrently intensified its involvement in NATO missions, including the establishment of a battlegroup led by France, which involves several thousand troops stationed within its borders.

Romania is striving to modernize its armed forces and has outlined plans to acquire various equipment, such as pre-owned US-manufactured Abrams tanks, submarines, and anti-mine vessels.

In a recent development earlier this year, Romania procured 18 Bayraktar TB2 combat drones following the inking of a $321 million contract with Turkey’s Baykar corporation.