COLOGNE, Germany — The German government continued another round of talks with vendors Lockheed Martin and MBDA this week about a contract for the TLVS missile defense system.

The ongoing negotiations suggest there is still no common ground on the legal framework for costs and risks associated with the next-generation program. 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 told Defense News on Friday.

Hiccups lie mostly within the industry team, specifically relating to how and if the U.S. defense giant Lockheed can bend to Berlin’s demands that the contractors absorb the majority of risk if problems come up in the program.

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

Those high-tech aspirations come packaged in Germany’s new defense 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 program for Lockheed, as German defense 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.

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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