Saudi Arabia Buys European Frigates and Corvettes to Strengthen Its Navy
RIYADH, (BM) – Between European partners, there has been intense competition for the Saudi Arabian naval market. Three European shipbuilding companies (groups of companies) are trying to extract the greatest profit for themselves from the desire of Riyadh to increase its fleet, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.
According to recent reports, Saudi Arabia wants to increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf, as well as in the waters of the Red Sea. For this, she is going to acquire two frigates, three corvettes and several auxiliary vessels (support vessels).
Three European companies offered their services to the Navy of Saudi Arabia. This is the Italian Fincantieri (Italy’s largest shipbuilding association) with an office in Trieste, the Spanish Navantia, as well as the French Naval Group (DCNS).
To reduce the degree of competition, the EU decided to propose the unification of the efforts of the French and Italian companies for the needs of the Saudi market. We are talking about the option of acquiring multi-purpose frigates FREMM, the construction of which are engaged in DCNS and Fincantieri. Earlier, a French-Italian “cooperative” built a couple of such ships for the Navy of Egypt and Morocco. Prior to 2011, Algerians also wanted to purchase FREMM, but in the end, they refused the services of shipbuilders from the EU in favor of the Russian corvettes of the 20382 project because of their more reasonable price.
But the desire of Saudi Arabia to strengthen its fleet with European-built ships now faces a problem: no non-American company (not a company from the USA) has the right to supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia without signing an agreement on the creation of a joint venture under the jurisdiction of Riyadh. The United States itself is exempted from such a “norm.” At the same time, experts make it clear that Washington imposed this norm on Riyadh.
Thus, in order to purchase warships, for example, from a French company, you have to sign an agreement, which, interestingly, does not guarantee that the Navy of Saudi Arabia will choose the French as the supplier. This “logistics” is frankly annoying the manufacturers of military equipment in Europe, as they initially face the overwhelming American advantage in the Saudi market. The EU believes that the United States is trying to cut off competitors from the Saudi market.
Recall that earlier, Riyadh signed an agreement with the United States on the purchase of weapons for a gigantic amount – more than 100 billion.
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