Norway seeks German sub partnership
German shipbuilder Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) is in the front seat to secure the contract to build Norway’s next generation submarines.
This comes after the Norwegian government announced that Germany will be a strategic partner on the programme putting it ahead of competition from French shipbuilder, DCNS which is also in the running for the programme.
The Norwegian Ministry of Defence stated on 3 February that the submarines will be based on the 212 design (pictured) in service in Germany and Italy and it will entail a significant level of industrial cooperation.
TKMS and DCNS were shortlisted last year to offer proposals for a class of submarines for the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) to secure the service's underwater capability, outlined as a priority by the government in its Strategic Review in 2016.
Norway will enter final negotiations with Germany and should a government to government agreement be put in place a separate negotiation between the two countries and TKMS will start. The RNoN’s six Ula-class were also built in Germany. The boats were commissioned between 1989 and 1992 and will all receive upgrades to extend their lifecycles up to the mid-2020s.
The Norwegian MoD stated that the plan is for a contract to be signed in 2019 to enable the delivery of the submarines from the mid-2020’s to 2030. In addition, the respective navies will cooperate on training, exercises, spare parts, maintenance and lifetime management of the new submarines.
The Norwegian MoD quoted Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide as saying that the boats ‘are amongst the Norwegian Armed Forces’ most important capabilities’ and were ‘of great significance’ in helping to protect the country’s maritime interests.
‘This lays a good foundation for the long-term relations we need to maintain a credible submarine capability in the future. Submarine cooperation with Germany will ensure that Norway gets the submarines we require,’ she said.
In the statement the MoD said that ‘both France and Germany offer excellent submarines that meet Norwegian needs’ and that ‘both nations have been given good opportunities to come up with a total offer on new submarines and cooperation’.
Reacting to the decision DCNS said: 'We regret this sovereign decision even if we respect it. We remain convinced that our offer was superior, in particular in the anti-submarine warfare area, crucial for operations and patrols in the High North.
'We remain at Norway’s disposal to re-engage the discussion, especially if the cooperation planned with the German Government would not reach an agreement.'
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