BERLIN (Reuters) - The German government could award a 400 million euros ($465 million) contract this month for work on up to three new spy satellites for its foreign intelligence service, the RND news group reported late on Friday.
Citing security sources, it said the funds had already been quietly approved by the budget committee of the Bundestag, or lower house of parliament.
The newspaper chain said Airbus and the Bremen-based company OHB had submitted separate bids to build the new satellite system called "George". It quoted unnamed lawmakers as saying that Israel Aerospace Industries [ISRAI.UL] may also have submitted a bid.
The new satellites are to be used by the BND intelligence agency to provide "rapid, independent information and threat assessments," RND said, citing a paper from the chancellery.
"It's not enough anymore to be dependent on third parties to generate data, to purchase imagery on the commercial market or to request it from international partners," the paper said.
Increasing crises around the world could impact Germany, and "political decisionmakers expect immediate and valid information" from intelligence agencies.
No comment was immediately available from the chancellery or the BND intelligence agency.
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(Reporting by Andrea Shalal Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)