Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Norway has decided to partner with Germany for the common acquisition of identical new submarines and their maintenance, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense said.
The decision, part of a long-term navy-to-navy initiative, also includes collaboration on training, exercises and spare parts and cooperation by the industries of both nations.
"Submarines are among the Norwegian Armed Forces' most important capabilities and is of great significance for our ability to protect Norway's maritime interests," Norwegian Minister of Defense Ine Eriksen Søreide said Friday. "It is important that we have found a strategic partner that we can build a broad and long lasting cooperation with.
"This lays a good foundation for the long-term relations we need to maintain a credible submarine capability in the future. Submarine cooperation with Germany will ensure that Norway gets the submarines we require ... ."
The submarines will be based on the 212-design already in service in Germany and Italy.
The Norwegian Ministry of Defense said Norway will now enter into final negotiations with German authorities and once a government-to-government agreement is in place, a German-Norwegian negotiation with German submarine-maker Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (tkMS) will start.
Norway plans to sign a common contract for new submarines in 2019.