France seals 1.2 billion euro navy ship deal with Romania

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s defense ministry said on Wednesday that defense firm Naval Group had won a 1.2 billion euro ($1.35 billion) contract to build four Gowind navy corvettes for Romania, as it looks to ensure security in the Black Sea.

The deal, which will also see Naval Group renovate two existing Romanian frigates, ensures the delivery of the first ships in 2022.

“Romania becomes the first European country, but also the first NATO country, to acquire this type of warship,” the French defense ministry said in a statement.

“The Godwin has the ideal capacity to ensure security in the Black Sea,” it added.

The frigates include radar from Thales and missiles from European maker MBDA.

Russia captured three Ukrainian naval ships and its crews in Nov. 2018, prompting fears of an escalation in military tensions in the Black sea region.

At the time, Russia said Ukraine illegally entered its waters. NATO has since boosted its presence in the region in response to what it described as Russia’s aggressive actions.

Reporting by John Irish; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta