The Weekly Wire: For Your Situational Awareness 2.7.19
Joint European Submarine Acquisition – the Type 212 CD
Jessica Di Paolo, Senior Market Analyst
In 2017, Norway and Germany entered into a partnership to both acquire submarines of the same design to boost maritime operations and cooperation with each other. Norway and Germany are looking to finalize the details of the partnership and sign an agreement in 2019. German-based ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems was selected to provide a total of six Type 212 CDs, beating out France’s DCNS (currently Naval Group). There will be opportunities for Norwegian-based defense firms, namely Kongsberg, to work on the submarines and further cooperation between indigenous defense firms in each country. ThyssenKrupp is in the process of creating a joint-venture with Kongsberg, in which the latter will supply the submarines with a combat system. Norway is replacing its fleet of Ula-class submarines which have been operational since the early 1990s with four new submarines, while Germany is acquiring two submarines, with all six submarines to be delivered in the mid-2020s-2030. The Type 212 is currently in service with the German navy.
ThyssenKrupp is boasting that the new Type 212s will have increased speed, longer range, and increased underwater endurance. Previous variants of the Type 212 have a top speed of 20 knots, slowing down to eight knots when submerged. However, it’s speculated that the new Type 212 CDs could have more power if ThyssenKrupp incorporates a second generator. But the acquisition of the submarine doesn’t stop at Norway and Germany. The Italian Navy also has an older variant of the Type 212s in its fleet which are expected to be retired in the early 2020s, though Italy is moving forward with upgrading the hull instead of opting to purchase the new CD-variant. Poland’s submarine competition (dubbed Orka) is considering the Type 212 alongside the A26 and the Scorpene-class submarine, while the Netherlands is also searching for new submarines and considering between the Type 212 or the A26. Norway and Germany have offered to extend the joint agreement with the Netherlands to encourage the Dutch to acquire the Type 212 CD, with the incentive that doing so would yield cost savings to the country.
On February 1, the Indian government released an interim, federal budget before national elections in early May. New Delhi allocated over $61 billion to the military. The figure represents a nominal 6.6 percent over last year, or a 3.5 increase in real terms. India’s defense community was largely critical of the proposed defense budget, however, citing declining toplines as a percentage of GDP. Aside from defense, the overall budget included populist measures targeting key voting blocs, including $2.8 billion in payments to Indian small farmers and $2.6 billion worth of tax breaks to the country’s middle class. The FY2020 budget release comes as Prime Minister Modi’s government has been accused of politicizing economic data in the run-up to the elections, as well as undermining the autonomy of the country’s central bank by calling for lower interest rates.
On January 31, the German government decided to delay the planned purchase of new fighter aircraft. The German military is seeking to replace its aging fleet of Tornado fighters with a new nuclear-capable aircraft. A plan was being put forward to buy $17 billion worth of aircraft from the United States, but center-left elements of the German government requested additional time and information before approving it. The primary contenders for this requirement were the Lockheed Martin F-35, the Boeing F/A-18, and the Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon – with the German Air Force specifically requesting the F-35. However, France has made it clear that choosing the F-35 would cause problems for future collaboration between France and Germany regarding the fighter development. As a result, there is a distinct chance that Germany will purchase the F/A-18 and the Eurofighter, but currently no firm commitments have been made.
Airbus and Dassault will be jointly awarded the first contract in the French-led Future Combat Air System (FCAS). The contract is a two-year €65 million ($74 million) contract that will set out the structure of the program and industrial cooperation. The funds will be split evenly between the two companies. Subsequent contracts for the development of the engines on the fighter component of the FCAS will likely go to Safran and MTU Aero Engines. Spain will also be inducted as a full partner into the program this summer, though it is not yet clear how costs will be divided once Spain is added to the project.