The German government has given Lockheed Martin and MBDA the go-ahead to bid anew on the TLVS air defence program. The latest request for a proposal, transmitted lately, is the third iteration after previous attempts to draft a contract failed. A Lockheed spokesman confirmed receipt of the solicitation but said the company could not comment further.
The program, short for Taktisches Luft verteidigungs system, is meant to wean Germany off the venerable Patriot air defence 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.
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.