The Bulgarian Bulgarian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected German shipbuilder Lürssen Defense over Fincantieri of Italy to build two multi-role corvettes for the Bulgarian Navy (Voennomorski sili na Republika Bǎlgariya). The Bulgarian government has allocated a BGN820 million (USD463 million) budget for the procurement of two ships. The negotiations will be conducted with Lürssen Defense, with the aim of signing a contract by mid-August. According to the accepted timeline of the OPV program, the first vessel should be delivered by 2023 and the second one the following year.
Lürssen offering its modified OPV 80/85/90 series vessel armed with 76mm naval guns, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, lightweight torpedos, close-in weapon systems for self-defence and flight deck capable of accommodating a medium size naval helicopter. The Bulgarian Navy has a requirement for two modular, which would be capable of performing various types of tasks, such as anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, in fact making them more similar to a corvette class than typical offshore patrol vessels (OPV). Procurement of new OPVs should significantly enhance operational capabilities of the Bulgarian Navy, and allow it to secure country’s strategic interests in the Black Sea region as well meet its commitments to the international community and NATO partners.