German Navy’s MKS 180 (Mehrzweckkampfschiff 180, “Multipurpose combat ship 180”) project has been redesignated as F126 (Fregatte Klasse 126, “Frigate class 126”), German MoD announced.
The MoD statement said that the new F126 frigates are based on the principles of intensive usability and the multi-crew concept of the Navy’s currently operational F125 Baden-Württemberg-class frigates.
Damen Shipyards is the main contractor for the F126 project which it is undertaking, together with partners Blohm+Voss and Thales, in Germany. The company signed a contract with the German procurement agency BAAINBw for the construction of four F126 frigates on June 19. The contract, which marks the start of the design and construction phase, came following the release of necessary financial resources by the German Parliament (Bundestag) budget committee two days earlier.
The F126 frigates will be capable of being equipped with different installation modules designed for specific military missions. The modularity of the ships brings several advantages: mission modules that are not required can be stored and serviced regardless of the ship’s platform. The modules do not have to be procured for each ship and can also be purchased independently of this. In the event of changing operating conditions and further developed technology, only the module may need to be modernized. And the standardized interfaces onboard make it possible to develop new types of modules.
According to the German Navy, the frigates will be around 155 meters long with a maximum displacement of 9,000 tons.
The larger size of the new warships compared to the German Navy’s previous ships is because, among other things, they need enough space for the different modules. For comparison, the Navy’s F125 Baden-Württemberg class frigates are five meters shorter and almost 2,000 tons smaller. And these ships are almost twice the size of the F122 Bremen-class frigates.
The F126 frigates will take on some features from the F125 frigates including automation and low maintenance of the technical systems, as well as the multi-crew concept. This will allow these new ships to remain in the area of operation for up to two years, while the roughly 110-strong crew rotates every four months.
The vessels will have a permanent crew of 110 personnel and will have the capability to embark on 70 additional personnel who specialize in the mission modules. The vessels are intended to have a service life of 30 years.
The first ship of the MKS 180 class will be operational in 2028. The entire programme will run for over ten years.