Damen Shipyards and the German government have signed the contract for the construction of at least four MKS-180 frigates. The frigates are intended for the German Navy. Damen is the main contractor for this project which, together with partners Blohm+Voss and Thales, is mainly being carried out in Germany.

This combination of companies had previously been declared the winner of the European tender; the largest in the history of the German Navy. On 17 June, the necessary financial resources were released by the German Bundestag budget committee. The contract signed on 19 June marks the start of the design and construction phase.

Approximately eighty per cent of the project investment remains in Germany as added value. The vessels will be built at Blohm+Voss in Hamburg, but partly also at other shipyard locations in Germany, including Bremen, Kiel and Wolgast. In addition, some one hundred small and medium-sized companies will be involved. These companies originate from almost all German states.

Expanding role in European naval construction

‘I am convinced that with the MKS-180 project we are building a high-quality frigate that meets all the wishes of the German Navy,’ says Hein van Ameijden, Managing Director Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding. ‘It is a German-Dutch project. We are already working well together with our partners in Germany: Lürssen, Blohm+Voss, and with Thales. The project also offers prospects for further European cooperation. The many years of cooperation between Damen and Thales as part of the Dutch “golden ecosystem” is an important factor in this success. If the Netherlands continues to invest in innovative projects for its own navy, we can further expand our role within European naval construction. That’s good for the Netherlands’ strategic role, which fits in with the Defence Industry Strategy.’

The German added value and knowledge development also applies to Thales’s mission systems acquired within the project. Approximately seventy per cent is supplied by Thales’s German branches in Kiel and Wilhemshaven. This is done in close cooperation with numerous subcontractors.

Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands says: ‘The women and men on board of these innovative frigates can rely on the latest technologies in the field of cyber defence, radar and fire control. The AWWS system, which is being developed for the Dutch and Belgian Marines, will soon also enable the German Navy to withstand threats of today and the coming decades.’

As general contractor, Damen, together with partners Lürssen, Blohm+Voss and Thales, is very pleased with the confidence that the German government places in them. The implementation of the project will now begin soon. This includes the delivery of four frigates in the years 2027 to 2031 for an amount of around 4.6 billion euros. In addition, an option for the supply of two more frigates, after 2032.