Norway has selected Germany as its strategic partner for new submarines, making Thyssenkrupp the likely supplier.
“Norway plans to buy four submarines and Germany two, while other NATO members such as Poland and the Netherlands may add to the order at a later stage,” Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said on Friday. However, “the cost of the vessels has not yet been determined.” She added.
“What we sought was a strategic partner. When Germany offered to buy identical submarines together with us, it unveiled the path of closer cooperation throughout their expected life time.” Soereido was quoted as sayng by Reuters today.
Last April France's DCNS and ThyssenKrupp were the prominent candidates to supply submarines to replace its existing "Ula class" fleet, built between 1987 and 1992.
"The decision means that Germany will speed up its plans to buy new submarines," the German Defence Ministry said in a statement. Further, It would also secure the country's role in a key technological area for years to come, the defense ministry added.
The deal will relieve pressure on Thyssenkrupp to intensify restructuring or even sell its naval business, after it lost out to DCNS, which is 35 percent-owned by Thales, in a $38 billion Australian submarine tender last year.
"Norway will now enter into final negotiations with German authorities. When a government-to-government agreement is in place, a German-Norwegian negotiation towards the German submarine supplier Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will commence," Norway's Defence Ministry said in a statement.
The submarines will be based on the so-called 212-design already in service in Germany and Italy.
Norway's Kongsberg Gruppen is expected to be a key supplier of equipment to the submarines. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems CEO Peter Feldhaus said the agreement would be valuable to industry in both countries.
Norway has aimed to sign a common contract for submarines in 2019, enabling deliveries from the mid-2020s to 2030.
European NATO members are being pressurized from the new US President Donald Trump to spend more on their own defense.