French shipbuilder opens Colombia office in bid for new frigate contract

French shipbuilder DCNS opened a new office in Bogota, Colombia, hoping to bolster its chances in securing work on the Colombian Navy’s Plataforma Estratégica de Superficie (PES) frigate acquisition programme.

Under the programme, Colombia plans to acquire four frigates to replace the existing Almirante Padilla-class vessels, which are expected to be decommissioned in 2024.

Olivier Michel, DCNS Latin America Vice President, opened the representative office in Bogota, on Wednesday, March 8.

This inauguration will be followed by DCNS participation in Colombiamar, the Colombian naval defense exhibition which will be held in Cartagena March 15-17.

“With our new representative office in Bogota, DCNS is keen to be part of a strategic partnership with Colombia and its local industry,” Olivier Michel said.

“Thanks to its long and fruitful experience in cooperation and its expertise in systems integration and technology transfer, DCNS intends to bring technology and added-value know-how contributing to development and sovereignty of Colombia in naval defense field. DCNS is proud to already have a successful experience in Colombia with the Colombian navy through the Padilla frigates modernization program.”

Between 2009 and 2013, DCNS completed the maintenance and upgrading of the Almirante Padilla-class frigates.

The French shipbuilder is proposing its new 4,000t Belh@rra frigate. Belh@rra is the export version of the French Navy’s new FTI (Fregate de Taille Intermediaire) medium-size frigate, which will be equipped for anti-submarine warfare with widened self-defence and commando-projection capacities.

Another offer for the Colombian frigates is coming from UK’s BMT Defence Services who joined forces with Saab to offer the Venator-110 frigate design.

The Venator-110 is a 117-meter design that can come in three versions: light frigate, patrol frigate and a patrol ship, responding to individual requirements and budgets, as BMT says.

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