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Turkey’s STM competing for Colombian Navy frigate bid

Turkish defence contractor Savunma Teknolojileri Mühendislik ve Ticaret A.Ş. (STM) is competing for the Colombian Navy’s Plataforma Estratégica de Superficie (PES) next-generation frigate requirement.

In its press statement, STM says it has “carried out individual discussions with the Colombian Navy [at the Colombian Naval Defence Exhibition]” and expects that Colombia will shortlist STM with the top bidders.

STM is competing against DCNS as well as Saab and BMT Defence Services. It appears that the PES will be a multi-mission design capable of anti-ship warfare (AShW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-air warfare (AAW) roles.

Notes & Comments:

STM is working towards several big-ticket naval sales. In Pakistan, it recently secured a contract to upgrade the Pakistan Navy’s Agosta 90B submarines, a program that could be worth as much as U.S. $350 million. It is also actively negotiating with Pakistan for the sale of four MILGEM corvettes and is eager to pitch the FAC-55 design for Pakistan’s requirement of four to six new fast attack crafts (FAC).

Thus far, STM’s large warship design appears to be centered on the MILGEM platform, which comprises of the Ada corvette (2,300 tons), I-Class frigate (3,000 tons), and the LF-2400 light frigate (2,350 tons). That said, the Delta Marine-STM design portfolio does include larger ship designs, including fleet tankers. A custom design for the Colombian Navy is plausible.

The PES contract would be a significant gain for Turkey, which is in a cadre of emerging shipbuilders vying for market-share against established suppliers, such as France and Britain. Catering for cost-sensitivity and providing effective options within that framework would likely be STM’s approach.

That said, it must be noted that Colombia also has a domestic ship designer in Corporación de Ciencia y Tecnología para el Desarrollo de la Industria Naval, Marítima y Fluvial (COTECMAR). COTECMAR has been responsible for leading the Colombian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel (OPV) requirement. In January 2017, it revealed the OPV-90 Mk2, a 2,550-ton design capable of a maximum speed of 18-20 knots.

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