The Budget Committee of the German Parliament rubber-stamped on Friday the procurement of five new corvettes for the German Navy, worth about €1.5 billion, sources familiar with the deal confirmed.

The decision is a sure sign that German MoD prefers a direct procurement of a second batch of K130 corvettes instead of a long lasting tender process and a new design.

The plan to acquire the additional corvettes was announced only a few weeks ago to a surprised public after it became clear that the selection of the winner for the new €4 billion frigate tender MKS 180 was delayed for six months till the end of 2017, after next general elections. 

 The Ministry justifies the procurement of the corvettes with new requirements of NATO, which were enacted in July. According to a Navy spokesman, NATO expects Germany to provide two additional corvettes at the highest readiness level for use in littoral operations from 2018 on. Due to shipyard time and training tasks, only two ships of the existing squadron of five are assigned to NATO missions.  Two extra corvettes for NATO therefore translate into a new squadron.

While the Navy hopes that the first corvettes will enter service by the end of this decade, well informed sources rule out a commissioning before 2021. The Navy wants a second batch of K130 with the least modifications possible to the existing ones to achieve synergies in training, logistics and maintenance.  

If the Navy prevails, the two German shipyards Lürssen and TKMS that built the first batch of K130 and own the property rights for the design will likely profit from the new order.

With last night`s approval, funds were earmarked. However, before the final release of the money the formal procurement process has to be passed and an agreement with the contractor negotiated. As Rainer Arnold, defense policy spokesman of the Socialdemocrats in Parliament, said on Wednesday in Berlin, he does not expect a final approval within the current election period.

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