Naval building to spearhead French exports in 2003
French defense manufacturers anticipate that this year could see the naval industry rather than traditional aircraft or ground equipment suppliers leading export sales. Work is already underway on the first La Fayette-type frigate for Singapore while Constructions Mecaniques de Normandie (CMN) and Abu Dhabi Shipbuilding will soon receive contracts for up to six corvettes under the United Arab Emirates’ Project Baynunah program. CMN recently was awarded a four-year contract by the Kuwaiti government for engineering and repair support of the eight Um Almaradim-class fast attack craft (FACs) acquired since 1998.
However, the most recent order in the Persian Gulf region-worth $4.5 million-was placed with Austal Ships’ subsidiary Image Marine. The Kuwaiti Coast Guard has ordered three 22-meter aluminum patrol boats powered by twin MAN 735 kW diesels. The vessels will normally embark a crew of three, although for short periods up to 40 can be embarked. The first patrol boat is scheduled for delivery in 2004. It is reported that Kuwait may also have a requirement for larger patrol boats but procurement is likely to be delayed until January or June 2004.
The Indian Ministry of Defense has finally approved a $2 billion agreement with DCN International and Thales for the construction of six Scorpene-type submarines at Mazagon Dock Ltd. (MDL) in Mumbai. The agreement, which awaits approval by the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS), is separate from a further $50 million contract to modernize MDL’s facilities. It is hoped to deliver the submarines at yearly intervals beginning in 2010.
DCN International will also support construction at Kochi of the planned Air Defense Ship-the aircraft carrier (first of three) intended to be in service in 1997, in time for the 50th anniversary of India’s independence, so the project is likely to keep the French companies occupied for a long time.
Copyright Navy League of the United States Mar 2003
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