COLOGNE, Germany — The German government has given Lockheed Martin and MBDA the go-ahead to bid anew on the TLVS air defense program.

The latest request for a proposal, transmitted Wednesday, is the third iteration after previous attempts to draft a contract failed. If the vendor team decides to pursue the business, a new offer is expected by the summer.

A Lockheed spokesman confirmed receipt of the solicitation but said the company could not comment further.

The program, short for Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, is meant to wean Germany off the venerable Patriot air defense weapon. Formerly developed in concert with the United States and Italy, TLVS boasts a 360-degree sensing and shooting capability meant to lower its footprint in the field and allow for intercepts against threats from all directions.

The Germans want a system that grants its military operators maximum national autonomy, meaning the government wants to own the rights to relevant software and hardware without having to consult with Washington to employ or modify the weapon.

That requirement previously turned out to be a major headache in the negotiations with industry, especially relating to the Lockheed-made interceptor known as the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement. It also remains to be seen how firmly Berlin sticks to its guns on the issue in the upcoming round of talks.

News of movement in the prospective multibillion-dollar program comes as the German Defence Ministry announced another major acquisition decision last month that continues to make headlines. The government has proposed a split buy of Eurofighter and F-18 fighter jets to replace its Tornado fleet by 2030, prompting spirited debates among German lawmakers, industry advocates and analysts.

Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.

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