Germany approves funds to develop supersonic weapon, buy thousands of missiles

BERLIN — The German parliament has authorized the purchase of thousands of missiles and the development of a supersonic naval cruise missile, according to a Defense Ministry press release.

Germany will partner with Norway to develop the Tyrfing supersonic missile. A key parliamentary committee on Wednesday released funds for Berlin's first foray into developing modern naval missiles. Currently, the bulk of the country's naval missile arsenal is French or American-made.

Although Norway and its state-owned arms manufacturer Kongsberg will play a leading role, the German government plans to contribute around 650 million euros ($695 million) to the project by 2033.

The contract, which is expected to be concluded by August, will see Diehl Defence and MBDA carry out work on the German side.

At least initially, the German half will be financed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz's special fund for the military. This money was raised immediately after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

In coming years, the money will be taken from the regular defense budget.

Kongsberg describes the Tyrfing as a “new super missile” that will succeed the Naval Strike Missile developed in the early 2000s. The 3SM – short for Super Sonic Strike Missile – is expected to be ready in 2035, the company said in a press release late last year.

Besides Norway and Germany, Kongsberg hopes the missile will have export potential to other “European armed forces.”

Purchase of weapons

Germany's budget committee also approved the purchase of 3,266 Brimstone 3 rockets, to be delivered by 2033, in a deal expected to be passed by parliament next month.

Initially, the country will receive 274 missiles and the necessary equipment, purchased from MBDA Germany for around 376 million euros. An additional 29 Brimstones will be used for operational testing and another 75 for training and telemetry.

The missiles are intended for the country's Eurofighter fleet, which forms the backbone of its air force. Berlin first announced its intention to acquire this air-to-ground missile in 2017.

The British Royal Air Force has used the Brimstone family of missiles for almost two decades, including in war zones in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. A contingent of German Eurofighters is also deployed in the Baltics, where they are used to strengthen NATO's position on its flank against Russia.

In addition to completely new purchases, the parliamentary budget committee also approved the purchase of 506 Stinger man-portable air defence systems worth around 395 million euros to replace 500 shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles that were sent to Ukraine.

Germany has played a leading role in supporting kyiv's arming, sending more military support than any other country except the United States. According to the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy, the government sent 10.2 billion euros in military aid to Ukraine by the end of April 2024.

Linus Höller is Defence News' European correspondent, covering international security and military developments across the continent. Linus holds degrees in journalism, political science and international studies and is currently pursuing a master's degree in non-proliferation and terrorism studies.

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