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Saab to equip Bulgarian Navy new Multipurpose Modular Patrol Vessels.

| 2020

Saab has signed a contract with the German shipbuilding company Lürssen and received an order to provide and integrate the combat system for the Bulgarian Navy’s new Multipurpose Modular Patrol Vessels, MMPV.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Lürssen is the prime contractor for the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, and will build the two new patrol vessels at the Bulgarian shipyard MTG Dolphin JSC (Picture source: Lürssen)

Lürssen is the prime contractor for the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence, and will build the two new patrol vessels at the Bulgarian shipyard MTG Dolphin JSC. The vessels are scheduled to be delivered to the end customer between 2025 and 2026.

“We are proud to continue our successful cooperation with Lürssen. We look forward to contributing to strengthen Bulgaria’s defence and national security for years to come with our proven technology and solid naval combat system expertise”, says Anders Carp, deputy CEO of Saab and head of business area Surveillance.

Saab will carry out the work at its premises in Sweden, Denmark, Australia and South Africa.

According to information published by the "Bulgarian Military" website on November 6, 2020, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense received approval from the Council of Ministers for the purchase of two new modular patrol ships OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel) types (or MMPV) from the German company Lürssen.

An OPV (Offshore Patrol Vessel) is a patrol boat typically smaller in size than a corvette. This class can include fast attack craft, torpedo boats and missile boats, although some are as large as a frigate. The offshore patrol vessels are usually the smallest ship in a fleet that is large and seaworthy enough to patrol off-shore in the open ocean.

In April 2019, the Milmag website announced that three companies had submitted a bid to respond to the Bulgarian tender for new patrol vessels. The three candidates were Lürssen with its modified OPV 80/85/90 series vessel, Italian Fincantieri with its Abu Dhabi-class corvette, and the local shipyard manufacturer MTG Dolphin offering a modified version of its K-90 multirole corvette.

Citing, the Bulgarian Navy has a requirement for two modular, multi-role patrol vessels, which would be capable of performing various types of tasks, such as anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.

According to local media, the Bulgarian Ministry of Defense (MoD) had requested a ship that would be armed with a 76mm naval gun, anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, lightweight torpedos and close-in weapon systems for self-defense. The ship will also have a flight deck to accommodate a medium-sized helicopter.

For more than 140 years, Lürssen have earned the reputation, experience and expertise required to build vessels that meet virtually any set of individual requirements and with varying demands. Lürssen has developed three types of OPV: OPV 80, 85, 90. The OPV 90 can be armed with a 76mm naval gun, 4 x MM40 Exocet or 4 x RBS 15 Mk3 or 4 x NSM anti-ship missiles, 1 VLS Mk56 or RIM-116 RAM air defense missile system, two Decoy (e.g. MASS or SWKS), two remotely controlled 20mm automatic guns and two .50 M2HB machine guns.

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