A Boost for the German Navy as Parliamentary Defense Committee Green-Lights Several Projects

A naval modernization package that will benefit both the German Navy and local industry received a boost on June 23 when the country’s parliamentary defense committee gave the green light to a handful of procurement initiatives.

These cover a range of longstanding goals, including two additional Type 212 submarines (with the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Type 212CD to be purchased in a batch with Norway), two Type 707 double-hulled tankers, three Fleet Service Boats specializing in electronic intelligence (ELINT) and signals intelligence (SIGINT) missions, two test boats for the WTD71 Bundeswehr Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons center, and five Boeing P-8 Poseidon multimission maritime patrol aircraft (MPAs).

The German parliament (Bundestag) budget committee signed off on the EUR2.7 billion ($3.22 billion) submarine acquisition and EUR1.4 billion ($1.67 billion) P-8 purchases during the slate of last-minute defense spending requests presented at the deadline before lawmakers leave for the long summer recess preceding the next federal election on September 26.

The so-called Fleet Service Boats (Flottendienstboot) are essentially reconnaissance vessels. The current ships filling this role are three Oste class Type 423s that have been operating since the late 1980s. The new ships are destined to be the Type 424 Trave class and be outfitted with more modern sensors as well as electromagnetics and hydro-acoustics. They will also be able to deploy unmanned underwater vessels (UUVs) for reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering missions.

The MPA procurement represents a pressing German requirement. Earlier, on March 12, the U.S. State Department cleared a $1.77 billion government-to-government Foreign Military Sales (FMS) request by Germany involving the five P-8 aircraft in question.

Germany has a legacy fleet of eight P-3C Orions purchased secondhand from Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) stocks in 2005. Despite longstanding plans to keep these in operation out to 2035, the Defense Ministry opted instead to put a halt to an ongoing midlife upgrade (MLU) process on the P-3Cs and seek an interim solution as the fleet’s serviceability wanes.

The goal is to bring the new MPAs into service by 2024 and eliminate the possibility of a capabilities gap emerging once the P-3Cs are withdrawn from service.

Germany remains linked to a longer-term pan-European MPA solution via the Maritime Airborne Warfare System (MAWS) development program, set to be undertaken jointly by France and Germany post-2025, with an eye on achieving a new maritime patrol capability by 2030 and entry into service around 2035.

Image – Nicolas Raymond

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is a senior analyst covering both the Europe and Asia-Pacific regions for Forecast International's International Military Markets group.

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