Reuters International

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany has agreed to spend 1.5 billion euros to buy five more corvettes for the navy, the navy said on Friday, and Die Welt newspaper quoted lawmakers as citing the need for greater security in the Baltic Sea and the Mediterranean.

Die Welt said lawmakers planned to introduce the funding proposal in parliament in mid-November.

"To meet new security needs in the Baltic Sea, in the Mediterranean Sea, and globally, the coalition plans to buy five new corvettes for 1.5 billion euros for the German Navy," the paper quoted Social Democrat Johannes Kahrs and Christian Democrat Eckhard Rehberg as saying.

In April two Russian warplanes flew simulated attack passes near a U.S. guided missile destroyer in the Baltic, and Finland has accused Russia of several breaches of its airspace. Last Saturday, Russia said it had moved nuclear-capable missiles into its Kaliningrad enclave on the Baltic.

Die Welt said Germany's goal was to have two of the new ships enter service as early as 2019, with the remaining three to follow in 2023. The ships will be based on the current Braunschweig-class of corvettes.

Some additional military funding became available last week after the defence ministry informed lawmakers that another big navy project, a 4 billion euro procurement for new multi-role ships, would be delayed by six months.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Hugh Lawson)


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