A model of the Boustead Gowind Frigate displayed at Lima 2011. (photo : Malaysian Defence)
A Malaysian government-linked shipbuilder said Wednesday it expects to finalise the sale of six naval vessels developed by French navy equipment manufacturer DCNS next month.
Boustead Naval Shipyard was selected by the Malaysian navy earlier this year to build the six corvettes, which are designed for coastal patrol activities.
Zainal Abidin Ahmad, Boustead's assistant general manager, said the two companies would present final design specifications to the navy this month.
"Our expectation is to get it (the deal) signed in January," Zainal said at a maritime and aerospace show on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi.
The vessels weigh 2,400 tonnes, are 100 metres (330 feet) long and can each transport one EC275 helicopter made by Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS.
Zainal said Malaysia's navy had yet to choose how to arm the vessels.
The design is still under wraps and the size of the deal has not been disclosed.
However, industry analysts say the cost of one corvette runs to more than 100 million euros.
In landing the order, state-controlled DCNS beat out bids by Germany's TKMS and Dutch firm Damen.
DCNS already had a relationship with Boustead through a joint venture in 2009 to maintain two Diesel-propelled Scorpene submarines used by the Malaysian navy.
The corvettes, which can stay at sea for three weeks, are designed to navigate coastal areas and island groups to fight piracy and patrol fisheries, according to DCNS.
DCNS has sold 11 frigates to Malaysia's neighbour Singapore, five of which were built in the city-state.