German military set to buy 20,000 encrypted radios for 1.35 billion euros -source

By Reuters

BERLIN -Germany’s parliament will on Dec. 14 approve a 1.35-billion-euro purchase of 20,000 encrypted radios for its military, a person familiar with the matter said, with an option to buy another 14,000 radios for 1.5 billion euros.

The acquisition of the radios is part of the broader push to modernise Germany’s armed forces that Chancellor Olaf Scholz kicked off in a major shift of policy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Aiming to bring the Bundeswehr’s weapons and equipment back up to standard after decades of attrition following the end of the Cold War, Scholz announced a 100-billion-euro special fund dedicated to this goal three days after the start of the war.

In its session next Wednesday, parliament’s budget committee is expected to approve the first major deals funded with the money.

Lawmakers will then decide on the 10-billion-euro ($10.54 billion) purchase of 35 F-35 fighter jets produced by U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin, Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Tuesday.

The acquisition of the encrypted radios from German company Rohde & Schwarz will also be on the agenda and is part of the modernisation of the military’s command and control system.

In the past, German troops have borrowed encrypted radios from forces they cooperated with in places such as Mali in order not to jeopardize joint operations.

The radios are to be delivered between 2023 and 2028, the insider told Reuters, with life cycle costs seen at 2.2 billion euros for the next 20 years.

The F-35 is meant to replace the ageing Tornado, the only German jet capable of carrying U.S. nuclear bombs, which are stored in Germany to be used in case of a conflict.

The German air force has been flying the Tornado since the 1980s, and Berlin is planning to phase it out between 2025 and 2030.

($1 = 0.9491 euros)