German Parliament Approves €5.6 Billion to Procure Four MKS 180 Frigates

German Parliament (Bundestag) has approved the procurement of four MKS 180 frigates for around 5.6 billion euros, the government announced.

According to the statement, the procurement also includes land facilities for training. The German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr) has an option in the contract to purchase two more ships.

This is one of the many approval given by the Bundestag which also includes new radars for Eurofighter aircraft and the Hercules follow-up project. The projects approved were worth around 13 billion euros.

German Naval Yards Kiel (GNYK) has recently withdrew its request to review the German Navy’s decision to award the MKS 180 multi-purpose combat ship contract to Dutch shipyard Damen.

Following the withdrawal of the review application, the public procurement tribunal officially discontinued the review procedure. With this development, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding BV officially became the winner of the MKS 180 project.

According to Damen, the MKS 180 ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg, Germany and at other shipyard locations of the Lürssen Group, the parent company of Blohm+Voss, in northern Germany. The company said that it intends to build the MKS 180 frigates in this way in order to spend around 80% of the total net investment as added value in Germany.

MKS 180

MKS 180 (Mehrzweckkampfschiff 180, Multi-Purpose Combat Ship) frigates are the new class of multi-mission frigates under development for the German Navy.

German Navy's MKS 180 Frigate
Artist’s Rendering of an MKS 180 frigate being built for the German Navy. An illustration released by German Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg).

The 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 MKS 180 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 operational 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 MKS multi-purpose combat ship will take on some features from the Baden-Württemberg class 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.

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