Romania issued a tender for short-range air defense/very-short-range air defense (SHORAD/VHSORAD) on 17 November 2023. The contract, valued at around $1.908 billion, is anticipated to attract bidders from the United States, Europe, Israel, and South Korea.
While years in planning, Romania’s SHORAD/VSHORAD program has likely been accelerated by the war next door in Ukraine. Mobile air defenses, dedicated to countering low-slow-small (LSS) targets such as cruise missiles, loitering munitions, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), have proven critical for any modern integrated air defense network.
TWO-STAGE SHORAD/VSHORAD PROGRAM
This current tender marks the initial phase of a two-stage SHORAD/VSHORAD procurement program launched by the Romanian Armed Forces spanning 2023-2030 and beyond.
The total program estimate is at $4.2 billion.
Managed by Romtehnica SA, the tender outlines the acquisition of a maximum of 20 SHORAD and VSHORAD systems, distributed as follows:
- 6x SHORAD systems
- 6x VSHORAD systems
- 6x SHORAD-VHSORAD systems
- 1x SHORAD training system
- 1x VSHORAD operator simulation and examination system
Romtehnica anticipates the delivery of the first two VSHORAD systems within 36 months of contract signing.
The bidding deadline is set for 10:00 am (local time) on January 8, 2024.
The procurement process prioritizes the “Best Quality-Price Ratio,” with the evaluation criteria weighted as follows:
- 30% price
- 50% technical score
- 20% delivery timeline
The number of candidates is restricted to a minimum of three and a maximum of seven.
Selection is contingent on a track record of delivering similar products over the past five years, with the top seven candidates advancing to the next stage.
EVALUATION AND TECHNICAL REQUIREMENTS
Details about the second stage, including full specifications (classified) and technical requirements, will be disclosed solely to the selected candidates.
A brief excerpt from the tender’s technical requirements specifies that each product line, including SHORAD-VSHORAD integrated, SHORAD, and VSHORAD, should consist of seven subsystems: C4I system, sensor, weapon systems, training system, automotive and transport platform, energy systems, and logistic support.
The limited quantity of training and verification units comes with specific requirements.
No industrial offset or requirement for the transfer of technology and production (TOT/P) is explicitly mentioned as a requirement or selection criteria.
There is no official word on formal bids as of yet. However, various defense companies have engaged in discussions with Romania regarding SHORADs or may have piqued Bucharest’s interest based on battlefield performance or market activity:
- In 2022, MBDA announced its intent to compete with Mistral 3 and VL Mica systems in any Romanian SHORAD tender.
- Rafael was reportedly in talks with Romania, among other countries, for the Spyder air defense system in January 2023.
- RTX and Kongsberg are likely to propose NASAMS, leveraging RTX’s existing industrial cooperation with Romania and past sales. NASAMS made its combat debut in Ukraine.
- Diehl Defense is likely to suggest IRIS-T. Like NASAMS, the German system has also debuted in Ukraine, receiving high praise from Ukrainian officials. Additionally, Romania is part of the German-led European SkyShield Initiative (ESSI), designating IRIS-T as the system for short and medium-range air defense.
- Hanwha and LIGNex1 could present a mix of Pegasus and Chiron, as the more famous M-SAM-II is likely outside of the tender’s scope.
- A variety of other competitors could also enter the race, such as Saab (RBS-70), BAE Systems (Stormer HMV) Thales Air Defence (StarStreak).
The assessed candidate systems have varying levels of success probability due to their technical specifications relative to the Romtehnica requirements, as reviewed by T-Intelligence.
Interested parties should be aware that Romanian procurement programs may result in prolonged delays or even unilateral cancellations.
The tender is back online after being initially extended to 8FEB24, then suspended in early-JAN24 (as we indicate in the report that it could), and then re-opened on 15JAN24.
The tender is now again open to offers until 8FEB24.
cover image © MBDA, RTX, Thales, Diehl Defence, Rafael
by Vlad Sutea