Germany to Buy Six Warships

Posted by Joseph Keefe

German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen has
decided to buy six MKS-180 multi-role warships instead of putting
off a decision on two of those ships until 2030, her spokesman
said on Monday.

The ministry decided last October to delay a tender for four
warships, which was valued at 4 billion euros ($4.24 billion), to
ensure that quality standards were met. A decision on two extra
warships had initially been planned in 2030.

"The need is there. Now the minister has decided to buy all six
of the required MKS-180 ships," the spokesman said, without
providing a new cost estimate for the programme.

The new ships, to be delivered from 2023, will be used for
attacking targets on land and underwater, as well as providing
aerial protection to other vessels.

The three teams bidding to build the new warships are the
Bremen-based shipyard Luerssen and Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems ,
Blohm + Voss and the Dutch group Damen shipyards, and German
Naval Yards paired with Britain's BAE Systems, according to
security sources.

Von der Leyen's decision comes against the backdrop of increased
pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump for Germany and other
NATO countries to spend more on their own defences.

Germany is boosting military spending by nearly 2 billion euros
in 2017 to 37 billion euros, or 1.22 percent of gross domestic
product (GDP), but said it would take time to reach the NATO
target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence.

The German government, together with France, has been pushing for
greater European defence and security cooperation, especially
after Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Berlin has also deepened its bilateral military ties with the
Netherlands and Norway with recent agreements.

On Monday, Norway announced that Germany would buy naval strike
missiles from its Kongsberg Gruppen for more than 10 billion
crowns ($1.20 billion).

The German defence ministry said the two countries would work
together on developing the Norwegian firm's missile.

The MKS-180 ships are to be the first to be outfitted with the
new missiles, and they will become standard equipment on German
and Norwegian frigates in the longer term.

The German minister's decision to buy all six ships will not
affect the current procurement process, with the two additional
ships to be purchased under a separate lot, the spokesman said.

Reporting by Sabine Siebold and Andrea Shalal

Feb 13, 2017

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