It’s Do or Die for Germany’s New Missile Defence Weapon

Defence Industry

Cologne. The talks between the German government and vendors Lockheed Martin and MBDA continued this week on the contract for the TLVS missile defence system.

These suggest there is still no common ground on the legal framework for costs and risks associated with the next-generation programme. Berlin had asked the contractors in early May to submit a revised bid, the third attempt to nail down a replacement for the country’s aging Patriot fleet.

For its part, the Defence Ministry is still expecting a formal offer later this summer, a spokeswoman said.

The hitch is mostly within the industry team, specifically relating to how and if the US defence giant Lockheed can bend to Berlin’s demands that the contractors absorb the majority of risk if problems come up in the programme.

The latest request for a proposal for the TLVS programme is the third iteration, after previous attempts to draft a contract failed.

German officials have stretched the scope of desired capabilities of the former Medium Extended Air Defence System — the basis for TLVS — that the effort amounts to a new development, including a ramp for integrating defences against hypersonic missiles.

Those high-tech aspirations come packaged in Germany’s new defence acquisition process that seeks to right past procurement failures by pushing more liability to companies.

The ongoing negotiations come with the understanding that the new offer, if Lockheed decides to go forward sometime next month, equates to a contract-ready agreement that would be presented to lawmakers after the summer break.

Next year is an election year in Germany, which means there’s little appetite to push big-ticket acquisitions come January.

A lot hangs on the TLVS programme for Lockheed, as German defence leaders last year connected its outcome to the competition for a new heavy-lift helicopter fleet.

Lockheed’s subsidiary Sikorsky is offering the CH-53K for that race, going against Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook.

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