Germany to decide on purchase of two more frigates next week, says source

FILE PHOTO: German Defence Minister Pistorius and his Lithuanian counterpart Kasciunas hold a press conference, in Berlin

BERLIN (Reuters) - The German parliament's budget committee is expected to decide on a procurement proposal to purchase two more frigates for 3.18 billion euros ($3.46 billion) on Wednesday, according to a parliamentary source.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius announced the government's plans to order the frigates, which requires parliament's approval, at a keel-laying ceremony in northern Germany on Monday for the first of now six F126 frigates.

The F126 frigates comprise a core element of Germany's so-called "Zeitenwende" (sea change) in defence policy initiated by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

The first frigate of the new type is expected to be delivered to the German navy in 2028. It will be capable of striking targets above and under water.

According to the source, the two additional frigates would be delivered in 2033 and 2034.

The first four ships will cost some 6.2 billion euros ($6.72 billion) and be built in the ports of Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg with Dutch shipbuilder Damen as a general contractor.

At a length of 166 metres (548 feet), the 10,000-ton F126 will be the biggest combat ship in the German navy.

($1 = 0.9199 euros)

(Reporting by Holger Hansen, Writing by Miranda Murray, Editing by Thomas Seythal and Madeline Chambers)