Decision on T22R frigates upgrade still pending


The Romanian Navy (Forțele Navale Române) has recently reconfirmed its plan to modernise the two Type 22 Batch 2 frigates (F-221 “Regele Ferdinand” / F-222 “Regina Maria”) but the selection of the prime contractor is not expected to emerge earlier than mid-2017. It is worth noting that one of the bidders, the STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium, unilaterally announced its selection last summer but the announcement was never followed by an official contract award or confirmed by the Romanian Ministry of National Defence.

The two frigates were purchased from the United Kingdom in 2003 for £116 million, as part of NATO integration efforts. The agreement included the reactivation of the ships to operational condition and NATO standard, an initial modernisation to meet the specific requirements of the Romanian Navy and a significant Operational Sea Training programme through the Royal Navy’s Flag Officer Sea Training organisation (FOST).

Under the Phase 1 modernisation, both frigates were equipped with an Oto Melara 76/62 Super Rapid gun fitted forward where the 4 x MM-38 Exocet had been mounted, two locally developed Agil 12.7 mm remote weapon stations, a new fire control system based on the AMS NAUTIS 3, a Series 2500 Naval electro-optical system by Ultra Electronics, the Terma DL-12T decoy system with 12 tubes, a new torpedo decoy system, the BAE Systems MPS2000 communications system, an Inmarsat B global maritime distress and safety system, the Sperry Marine Mark 39 ring laser gyro compass and the LMX 420 global positioning system. The flight deck was modified to be able to embark an IAR-330 Puma anti-submarine helicopter and a total of 18 Sting Ray Mod 1 light-weight torpedoes were also purchased.

The Phase 2 upgrade was initially scheduled for 2008 but has been continuously delayed due to flack of funding. With a total budget of RON839 million ($197 million), the international tender, published on March 2016, includes the supply and installation of a new Combat Management System, surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles, a close-in weapon system (CIWS), a 3D surveillance radar, an improved electronic warfare suite and a towed sonar. The potential contractors are Lockheed Martin Canada Inc, DCNS, Leonardo SpA and the STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium.

  • H/T to the author.

    The STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium announced its win last summer as it was the only applied proposal. Actually, it was certain it would be awarded the modernization program. Except the absence of other applied offers, there was an other major factor for the romanian-turkish approachment; Romanians thought Turkey (more specific Turkish Navy) would be the most solid partner to hold any possible russian aggression (see the Straits Treaty). They even examined the Milgem corvette to strengthen the bounds between Romania and Turkey.

    Then Damen came! With the selection of the four SIGMA 10514 corvettes, it seems, Damen Group has granted participation at the T22R upgrade. Of course, nothing is certain yet. However, it exists a disadvantage for the STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium. It now seems Turkey has lost her momentum. Why? Because Romanian Navy is cautious about the post-coup Turkey. Don’t know where the contract will be awarded, but I think the new missile will be the same with SIGMA’s or with the new CDS at least.

    P.S. It’s strange they didn’t request more ships from UK. With a third ship, for example, they could have retired Marasesti.

    • Ivy Chris

      They would have benn hooked by now, had they awarded the contract to the turks.
      Verbatim, the delay was lifesaver.
      I suppose now, they don’t feel the same abt turkey’s stance towards Russia…

      • We never know. But yes, if we consider the philosophy was possibly to cover their naval weaknesses with partnership with the strongest allied navy of the region than can act in permanent basis at Black Sea.

        Don’t forget, their close military relations can be seen as the start of turkish armoured wheeled vehicles industry (Does anybody remember the RN-94?) and Romania produced Mk80 family bombs for Ankara after the explosion at MKEK.

        Sorry for putting the geopolitical aspect at the foreground instead of comparing the different candidate weapons and sensor for the upgrade of T22R.

    • GES

      It is not very clear whether the STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium was the sole participant, it was the only bidder successfully passed the 1st evaluation phase or it was just ranked first but I fully agree with your comment that the momentum has been lost.

      • The bidders number is indeed yet unknown, but there’s a high possibility only the STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium applied.

        Turkey maybe lost a great chance to establish naval exports primary to Romania, Bulgaria and secondary Ukraine, Georgia. As for the T22R, SAAB is also interested, BAE too, and why not also an israeli company. Chilean T22 have been actually upgraded with israeli help.

        I read yesterday even Damen is in danger to lose the SIGMA project as the new Romanian goverment thinks it was given without competition…

        • Ivy Chris

          I don’t think that Damen will lose the contract since construction was to take place at Damen’s yard in Galati for all 4 vessels.
          Obviously, the new government thinks they have some kind of leverage to supress the price.

  • Maybe at this link is the truth.

    Although STM / ASELSAN / HAVELSAN / CSR consortium won, the Romanian MoD argues the turkish companies face problems with producing the systems demanded. The new competition is going to have a budget of €176 million.—i-sisteme-de-rachete-pentru-fregatele-regele-ferdinand—i-regina-maria–modernizare-amanata_816207.html