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The bidding consortium MBDA Germany and Lockheed Martin (Federal Office for equipment, information technology and use of the Armed Forces) submitted the offer for the Tactical Air Defense System TLVS in June 2019, the BAAINBw. On this occasion, the ES & T spoke GmbH Dietmar Thelen, CEO of TLVS.

ES & T: What capabilities include the tender submitted?

Dietmar Thelen is CEO of TLVS GmbH (Photo: TLVS GmbH)

Thelen: The system offered provides protection against a much wider range of threats than previous solutions, including through two mission-specific missile, expanded sensor capabilities, a new communication system, sophisticated software algorithms and higher cyber security. But it's not just the performance system elements, but above all their full-service integration into a complete system. Which is based on a plug-and-fight-Interface System architecture allows an unprecedented system performance. TLVS will be the first integrated air defense system that can track multiple threats in the short and medium ranges simultaneously and intercept. for the first time allows a 360-degree protection. We have TLVS designed according to the requirements of the customer. Our approach reduces risks, provides lower life cycle costs and increase effectiveness in use.

ES & T: Is TLVS fend also new threats such as hypersonic weapons?

Thelen: TLVS is the most advanced system of its kind and thus meet all current threats. At the same time, the system is designed so that it can still integrate more powerful sensors and effectors in the future; including laser weapons or effectors against hypersonic weapons. So the system can be continuously adapted to new threats. With TLVS we create the conditions, potential aggressors always be one step ahead.

Open system architecture of TLVS (Graphic: TLVS GmbH)

ES & T: The bandied in the daily press ten billion euros are a very high amount. Can you confirm that number?

Thelen: Our goal is to negotiate an agreement that future costs clearly calculated and describes the services to be provided in detail. TLVS conforms to the agenda Armor BMVg of 2014 and provides cost and performance transparency. This avoids surprises in the coming years. The final amount will be the result of the negotiations, in other words, full cost transparency, there will be the parliamentary referral. An important aspect is that TLVS protection can offer substantially lower staffing levels than today's systems. This saves costs.

ES & T: Critics argue that a similarly powerful system could be achieved much cheaper also means combat performance upgrades of existing systems. What can you reply to that?

Thelen: TLVS is no technological evolution, but a revolution: it goes far beyond the capability of existing ground-based air defense systems, and also takes into account an increasingly dynamic threats.

The specific capability requirements are part of the contract negotiations. They are known only to the TLVS-grouping, the contracting authority. A statement on the costs and performance is irresponsible without knowing the requirements of customers in my view.

ES & T: What reasons were available that the offer has only now been given?

Threat and defense (Graphic: TLVS GmbH)

Thelen: We've received a call for tender in February 2016 and made our first offer in the fall of that year. In the discussion of the first range has been found that over the air defense system at that time offered is needed. Therefore, in 2018 there was a second RFP. Accordingly, we have made a new offer in June of 2019. Germany as a NATO framework nation will have a system that provides more power and system independence.

ES & T: Germany stands with TLVS it not rather isolated? Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands and Romania have just purchased only Patriot. Is that not a disadvantage for the German Army?

Thelen: No. These countries are just beginning to reach the defense stage, Germany has already achieved. Since Patriot is truly the available system. TLVS is the next stage of development and will be of interest to these countries in the future.

ES & T: Like many of the subcontractors are German companies?

Thelen: Throughout Germany about 30 companies are involved in TLVS. At peak times, more than 6,000 highly qualified employees will benefit from the implementation of the new tactical air defense system, most of them in Germany.

The interview was conducted by Waldemar Geiger.