A Summary of Last Year in the Global Warship Market: Americas Mulling the Idea of Purchasing Both New and Second Hand Ships

23 Mayıs 2019
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Sinan TOPUZ / sinantopuz1990@gmail.com

 

This latest offering to the series of articles, detailing the warship procurement efforts of various countries featured in MSI TDR over the last year, takes a look at the Americas. Due to the vast number of programmes in the United States, we prefer to cover this country in another section, and thus have not included it in this article.

Although the American continents seem somewhat distant to Turkey on the map, what is going on there and the commercial opportunities are not so distant. Last year, several companies in the Turkish shipbuilding sector showed their willingness to participate in numerous projects on the other side of the Atlantic, especially in South America, and discussions are still underway for some of these projects. For now, playing in the big league is as important as winning against the competition for our sector, which has just begun its foray into the global market with its indigenous solutions.

Like Australia, Canada has also opted for the Type-26 design in the frigate tender.

Like Australia, Canada has also opted for the Type-26 design in the frigate tender.

 

Canada

The Royal Canadian Navy was high on the agenda in 2018 due to its frigate procurement tender. The awarding of the $45 billion contract for the provision of 15 ships to the Lockheed Martin-BAE Systems partnership was noted as an important development that could affect the global market. The most disputed part of the process was that, although the tender specifications called for a self-proven ship that is in active service, the winning ship was the Type-26 frigate proposed by Lockheed Martin-BAE Systems partnership. The issue was brought to trial, but as was the case with the Australian tender, the Type 26 as the ultimate winner of the race.

At the outset, Canada had asked for proposals from 12 companies for the procurement of Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) ships that would replace its old Halifax-class vessels. Of the 12 listed companies, two declined to make an offer, namely TKMS and Odense Maritime Technology from Europe, [1] while Fincantieri and Naval Group, rather than acting in compliance with the restrictions set forth in the bidding process, were reported to have submitted a fixed price bid valued at $30 billion for FREMM frigates through informal channels. Although the offer was low, it was rejected due to non-compliance with the official procedures, and the grounds for disqualification also included issues involving spare parts, terms of reference, training, ammunition, distribution of responsibilities and lack of user rights. [2] It was reported in some media channels that the decision of the Italian and French companies to submit their proposal informally was related to their concerns about intellectual property rights. [1]

Alion-JJMA Corporation’s De Zeven Provincen class frigate, BAE Systems’ Type 26 and Navantia’s F-105 qualified for final evaluation, and in the end, Type 26 won out over its rivals. Construction of the ships is planned to start in the early 2020s, with the delivery of the first ship scheduled for the mid-2020s.

The Royal Canadian Navy also voiced a desire to replace its Victoria-class submarines, but the request was rejected by the current government in November. The grounds for rejection included the ongoing and significant modernisation efforts of the Canadian Navy; the significant amount of money that has already been invested for the procurement of 15 frigates, 2 joint support ships and 6 arctic patrol vessels; and the fact Victoria-class submarines have already undergone modernisation that will see them into the 2030s.

 

Mexico is continuing with the construction of eight POLA-class offshore patrol vessels based on the Damen SIGMA 10514 design.

Mexico is continuing with the construction of eight POLA-class offshore patrol vessels based on the Damen SIGMA 10514 design.

 

Mexico

Astimar, Mexico’s state-owned shipyard, and Damen are building eight POLA-class offshore patrol vessels based on the SIGMA 10514 design. The first of these vessels, the construction of which is about to be completed, is planned to enter into service in 2020. The vessels, weighing approximately 2,570 tons, will be fitted with a SMART-S radar and a Thales-made TACTICOS command and control system. The vessels are composed of six modules, four being constructed in Mexico and two in the Netherlands, which are then combined and assembled in Mexico. The Mexican Navy also has four Knox-class frigates and two Sa’ar 4.5-class missile boats. Knox-class frigates, known as Tepe-class frigates in Turkey, had also servef in Turkey in the past.

L'Adroit, built by Naval Group with its own resources with a view to demonstrating the abilities of its Gowind-class vessels, will be delivered to Argentina .

L’Adroit, built by Naval Group with its own resources with a view to demonstrating the abilities of its Gowind-class vessels, will be delivered to Argentina .

 

Argentina

The Argentine Navy has been suffering from various problems related to the recent financial difficulties in the country. One of the latest developments was the news that its ARA San Juan submarine had sunk in the Atlantic Ocean on November 15, 2017, along with its 44 crew. Suggestions that the vessel sank due to the use of cheap batteries and a failure to follow maintenance procedures spread through word of mouth. [3]

In January, it was reported that the Republic of Korea had offered to grant Argentina a decommissioned Ulsam class frigate, but with its guided munitions dismantled. Reading between the lines, it was hinted that the country would also be willing to transfer a second vessel of the same class and grant a Po Hang-class corvette to Argentina. [4]

In an expected development, Naval Group announced on February 14 that it had launched works on the contract signed with Argentina for the procurement of four offshore patrol vessels. The vessels to be delivered under the contract will be based on the OPV 87 Gowind design, and the first vessel will be L’Adroit, built by Naval Group using its own resources, with a view to promoting this class of vessel.

Brazil was intending to build its own aircraft carrier, but now that they have purchased HMS Ocean from the United Kingdom, it is unclear whether or not they will continue with the plan.

Brazil was intending to build its own aircraft carrier, but now that they have purchased HMS Ocean from the United Kingdom, it is unclear whether or not they will continue with the plan.

 

Brazil

Brazil’s current goal is to renovate its navy, beginning from 2025, with a €80 billion budget to be spent on the procurement of two 50,000 ton aircraft carriers, four 20,000 ton landing platform docks (LPD), 30 escort ships, 15 classical submarines and 6 nuclear submarines.  Various tenders and projects have already been launched to achieve this goal.

In August 2012, the Brazilian Navy declared a need for four corvettes equipped with stealth (radar and infrared) technologies. The project work for these corvettes, designated Tamandaré class, was launched in December 2017. Although the initial plan was to procure a 2,790-ton and 103-metre vessel, it was later announced that proposals for 3,000-ton vessels would also be accepted for evaluation. Of the 20 companies that declared an interest in the tender, nine, namely BAE Systems, Damen, Fincantieri, Naval Group, TKMS, STM, Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Goa Shipyard and Ukrinmash, submitted bids in June 2018.

BAE Systems proposed its Type 31. Goa Shipyard, which chose to equip their vessel with Israeli combat systems and received the support of Thales and MBDA, offered a variant of the Kamorta-class vessel. TKMS offered a MEKO-based hull; the Damen-Saab partnership proposed Sigma 10514; and Fincantieri, teaming up with Leonardo, offered the corvette model previously selected by Qatar. STM’s proposal was a version of MİLGEM adapted for Brazil, and Naval Group’s offer was the Gowind model selected previously by Egypt and Malaysia. STM and Ukrinmash selected Thales as their partner for the main electronic systems and combat management systems. As per the tender specifications, all companies were required to select the shipyard with which they would work. [5]

Brazil launched in December the first of the four Scorpene class submarines it is building with the support of Naval Group.

Brazil launched in December the first of the four Scorpene class submarines it is building with the support of Naval Group.

 

The vessels are required to be delivered between 2022 and 2025, and four of the bidders were shortlisted in October 2018, being: Águas Azuis and Embraer-TKMS; Tamandaré and Damen-Saab; Fincantieri-Leonardo and Vard; and the Villegagnon consortium, consisting of Naval Group and Enseada.

Enjoying its increasing petrol revenues, Brazil launched in December the first of the four Scorpene-class submarines it built with the support of Naval Group. The contract for the submarine, which was signed in 2009, is planned to be delivered to the Brazilian Navy in 2020. The remaining submarines covered under the $8.9 billion project will be delivered at 12–18 month intervals. Brazil’s Scorpene-class submarine, which is 72 m long, is slightly longer than the models used by Chile, India and Malaysia. Meanwhile, Naval Group has also announced plans to turn Brazil into the submarine construction centre of the region. There is no doubt that this declaration is linked to Brazil’s intention to enter the nuclear submarine sector by the mid-2020s, following similar efforts of China, France, the United States, India and the United Kingdom.

Brazil was also looking to build its own aircraft carrier, but now that they have purchased HMS Ocean from the United Kingdom, it is unclear whether or not they will continue with the plan. The vessel had also attracted the attention of the Turkish Navy.

 

Colombia

Following receipt of a patrol boat in the form of a grant from the Republic of Korea, Colombia has decided to launch efforts to replace its patrol boats that are due to retire in the mid-2020s, with four 3,000–5,000 ton frigates. STM was among the bidders in the tender. In 2017, Naval Group announced that it had opened an office in the country. The Colombian Navy is seeking a vessel that is equipped with a vertical launch system, a variable depth sonar, and surface-to-surface missiles with a minimum range of 180 km. Germany’s second-hand Bremen-class frigates were among the vessels taken into consideration for this project. After responding to the request for information document, several interested companies are now waiting for Colombia to publish a shortlist.

In addition, the Colombian Navy has plans in place to replace its five patrol boats in 2019.

Regarding the submarine procurement efforts of the Colombian Navy, Naval Group released a statement declaring that it had proposed the Scorpene-class submarine to Colombia as the optimum solution for the replacement of the country’s Type-209 submarines. [6]

 

Peru added BAP Pisco, which was built at Indonesia’s PT PAL shipyard with the support of DAEWO, to its inventory in 2018.

Peru added BAP Pisco, which was built at Indonesia’s PT PAL shipyard with the support of DAEWO, to its inventory in 2018.

 

Peru

Peru added the LPD built in Indonesia’s PT PAL shipyard with the support of DAEWO, namely the BAP Pisco, to its inventory in 2018, and the construction of the twin of the 122 metre-long vessel, which has a displacement of some 7,200 tons, is underway at Peru’s national shipyard SIMA. PT PAL previously built two of the same ships for the Philippines. Meanwhile, it is said that the Republic of Korea, which will grant a Po Hang-class corvette to Argentina, will grant a second corvette of the same class to Peru.

Various news sources have reported that Peru, under another procurement contract for the 3,500- to 4,000-ton frigate, is considering the Italian PPA, German MEKO, Singapore Formidable, the Republic of Korea’s KDX II and the French-Italian FREMM class frigates, and is also in active talks with France.

Furthermore, Peru signed a €40 million modernisation contract with TKMS in 2018 for four Type-209/1200 submarines, and the modernisation of the first submarine has already begun.

Peru is also planning to procure new submarines. Currently, the Peruvian Navy is assessing the designs of the Republic of Korea, Germany (Type 214), France (Scorpene) and Spain (S-80).

It has also been reported in the press that Peru has plans in place to build helicopter-capable riverine patrol vessels jointly with Colombia and Brazil, and that the country is to acquire two of these platforms by 2021. [7]

Chile is planning to replace its Latorre-class (formerly Jacob van Heemskerck) air defence frigates with new or second-hand vessels by 2023.

Chile is planning to replace its Latorre-class (formerly Jacob van Heemskerck) air defence frigates with new or second-hand vessels by 2023.

 

Chile

Chile is planning to replace its Latorre-class (formerly Jacob van Heemskerck) air defence frigates with new or second-hand vessels by 2023. The vessels had been built for the Netherlands in 1985 and 1986, and were added to the Chilean inventory in 2004. According to an article in February, Chile and the Netherlands have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) for the transfer of the remaining two Dutch Karel Dorman-class frigates (M-frigates). [8] If an agreement can be concluded between the two sides, the vessels can be expected to be transferred to Chile in 2024 and 2027, once they have been decommissioned, and the number of operational M-frigates in the inventory of Chile will increase from two to four. Accordingly, of the eight Dutch vessels, four will be transferred to Chile and the others to Belgium and Portugal. The reason for the be delivery being nearly six years later is that the vessels in the Netherlands will be decommissioned only after the frigate project to be conducted jointly by the Netherlands and Belgium.

Chile’s interest in Australia’s Adelaide-class frigates has also come to light. It is also possible to interpret the purchase of these frigates as an indication that the SM-2 Block III A missiles and ESSM missile systems launched from  and Mk-41 VLS launchers will be included in the inventory. [9] In a news article based on a South American source, it was stated that Greece is also interested in the Australian vessels. The fact that officials from the Chilean Navy were assigned in March or April to serve aboard the mentioned frigates shows the Chilean Navy’s continued interest in these frigates. The factor that put Australia ahead of the Netherlands in Chile’s frigate procurement efforts can be considered as time. It has been reported that Poland has also declared an interest in Australia’s frigates, and that the cost of the vessels to Poland would be $550 million.

Although Chile has not yet made its final decision on the frigates, the country is expected to select its new vessels in the course of this year.

 

References

  1. SDQuabec, 2018, Canada’s Combat Ship Procurement Process, https://sdquebec.ca/en/news/canadas-combat-ship-procurement-process (Date Accessed: March 2, 2019)
  2. Naval Today, 2017, Canada brushes off outside, fixed-price FREMM frigate offer for Canadian Surface Combatant Project, https://navaltoday.com/2017/12/06/canada-brushes-off-outside-fixed-price-fremm-frigate-offer-for-canadian-surface-combatant-project/ (Date Accessed: March 1, 2019)
  3. Seth Cropsey, 2017, Hudson Institute, Lessons From the Loss of ARA San Juan, https://www.hudson.org/research/14064-lessons-from-the-loss-of-ara-san-juan, (Date Accessed: March 1, 2019)
  4. Merco Press, 2019, http://en.mercopress.com/2019/01/29/argentine-navy-will-incorporate-a-south-korean-frigate-for-ocean-patrolling, (Date Accessed: March 3, 2019)
  5. Naval Today, 2018, Here are the nine teams bidding for the Brazilian Navy’s corvette acquisition project https://navaltoday.com/2018/06/19/here-are-the-nine-teams-bidding-for-the-brazilian-navys-corvette-acquisition-project/, (Date Accessed: March 6, 2019)
  6. Naval Group at Colombiamar 2019, https://www.naval-group.com/en/news/naval-group-at-colombiamar-2019/, (Date Accessed: March 12, 2019)
  7. ESD, 2018, We want to have a flexible navy, https://www.marina.mil.pe/media/eventos/2018/02/14/entrevista_european_security__defense.pdf, (Date Accessed:  March 1, 2019)
  8. Naval Today, 2019, Chile likely buyer of remaining two Dutch M-frigates, https://navaltoday.com/2019/02/13/chile-likely-buyer-of-remaining-two-dutch-m-frigates/, (Date Accessed:  March 11, 2019)
  9. Roberto Sandoval, Defensa.com, 2019, Chilian Navy Interested in the ships of the Adelaida Class, https://www.defensa.com/chile/armada-chile-interesada-buques-clase-adelaida, (Date Accessed:  March 11, 2019)

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