SOFIA (Reuters) - Italy’s Fincantieri, German shipyard Luerssen and Bulgaria’s MTG Dolphin have submitted bids in a 984 million levs ($570 million) tender to build two patrol ships for the Bulgarian navy, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.
The Black Sea country is looking to replace its three aging Soviet-made patrol ships with the new vessels and improve its compliance with NATO standards.
The offers will be opened on April 22, the ministry said in a statement. After an evaluation by a special working group, the defense minister will make a proposal to the government to approve a winner.
Bulgaria raised the budget for the new ships by 20 percent last year after a previous tender, where only MTG Dolphin bid, collapsed over financial terms.
Sofia plans to spend about 4.5 billion levs in the next ten years to upgrade its armed forces with new ships, fighter jets and combat vehicles.
The defense ministry hopes to seal a deal this summer with the United States for eight F-16 fighter jets to replace its aging Soviet-made MiG-29s and improve compliance with NATO standards.
Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; Editing by Mark Potter