Britain and Germany are reportedly muscling in on what France considered a sure sale of up to four “FREMM” multi-mission frigates to Algeria.
The French ADIT business intelligence and risk assessment agency notes in its latest newsletter that the Francophone Algerian La Tribune newspaper last week reported that BVT Surface Fleet, supported by the British government, is negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Algerian government “to conduct a contract evaluated between €4-5 billion.”
Media reports circulated after French President Nicolas Sarkozy`s December 2007 visit there suggested Algeria was to purchase up to four of the frigates. Armada International, the Swiss multilingual defence publication last October described it as a done deal, saying the “Algerian National Navy has followed Morocco as an export customer for the FREMM… The Algerian vessels will be constructed locally at the Mers-el-Kebir port in northwest Algeria”.
This, however, does not appear to be the case. Armada spoke of the Moroccan purchase in the plural and said Morocco “expected to receive its first vessel in 2012”. But a media release by DCNS, the builder, only mentions a single ship, as does the “FREMM” entry in the wikipedia. (The wikipedia entry does not mention Algeria at all and the FREMM is not referenced in the Algerian National Navy wikipedia site.)
ADIT further reports that British Prime minister has “exchanged several letters” with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, “while BVT Surface Fleet confirms having opened negotiations with Algiers, without specifying what kind of ship was under discussion. “But it could concern the Type 22 frigate…”
“Moreover, the Germans also threaten the FREMM deal offering Meko frigates with South African missiles to Algeria”.
It appears the Royal Navy is gradually phasing out the Type 22 “Broadsword” class. Several have already been sold to Brazil, Chile and Romania. If accurate, the Type 22`s on offer to Algeria will likely be refurbished vessels.
The South African Navy currently has in commission for Meko A200SAN frigates armed, inter alia, with the Denel Umkhonto surface-to-air missile. The Umkhonto has been exported to Finland.