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Treated in the Bundestag three days ago, the signatures were given yesterday (on June 19, 2020). Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and the Federal Office for Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the contract for the construction of the multi-purpose combat ship "MKS 180" in Koblenz.

According to a message from the Dutch shipbuilder, who operates 36 shipyards and repair yards worldwide and employs 13,000 people, the contract includes the delivery of four ships from 2027 to 2031 with an agreed option for a possible delivery of two more ships in the years after 2032. In addition, the Federal Ministry of Defense sees the year 2023 as the start of construction of the ships after a construction phase of around three years.

The construction will be carried out at Blohm + Voss in Hamburg, including other North German shipyard locations in Bremen, Kiel and Wolgast, said Damen.

The procurement of four multipurpose combat ships 180 is included in the federal budget with almost 5.8 billion euros (exactly 5.722581 billion euros). In addition to the roughly 4.6 billion euros in construction costs for the units, this also includes the land facilities for training and the external construction supervision estimated by the Ministry of Defense to be approximately ten years.

With the conclusion of the contract, the saga about the award procedure for the multi-purpose combat ship, which began in 2015 as a European competition, taking into account the existing legal framework, ends.

Vice Admiral Andrea Krause, Inspector of the Navy, is pleased with the quick handling on Twitter: “One more person should say that we can't do it quickly. On Wednesday the parliamentary approval, today the contract is signed. I have my eyes firmly on the future. I am curious when the "Artist Impression" will follow the first real photo. May like to go faster. "

From the illustrations published yesterday, the following can be derived for armament: 1 × 127 mm artillery, 14-16 VLS starter, 2xRAM, at least 2 MLG27, decoys. Open: sea missile, torpedo, other artillery. Includes at least 1 NH90 / Sea Tiger helicopter.


Joint shipbuilding as <new> link in a chain of cooperations

The multi-purpose combat ship 180 is being built in cooperation between the Dutch Damen Shipyards Group, the Thales Group and the Lürssen shipyard with the involvement of the German Naval Yards. Damen Werft intends to leave a high proportion of added value in Germany - over 70 percent. This affects not only the shipyards, but also the German supplier industry. In addition, it was contractually agreed that around 30 percent of the volume would be allocated to medium-sized companies. Details of the contract are not yet available.

The future units' command and control system comes from the Thales Group, Hensoldt's central sea and airspace surveillance sensor (the Taufkirchen-based company supplies four TRES-4D ship radars based on AESA technology). The Federal Ministry of Defense also announced that a large number of sensors and effectors were coming from the USA, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway. Germany has secured extensive rights to the ship for the future.

The Ministry of Defense sees the project as a result of the previously very successful Dutch-German cooperation. The Netherlands has integrated associations into German structures - and vice versa. After army units (parts of the Panzer Troop, Rapid Forces Division) have already rolled out lighthouse projects, the navies should not be left behind. The naval battalion of the German Navy will gradually be integrated into the Royal Dutch Navy. Since 2016, they have been working with the Netherlands to start building up capabilities for secure and far-reaching sea transport for the Bundeswehr. The maritime cooperation also provides that the German Navy can use the Dutch joint support ship to transport personnel and materials. There is also cooperation in the arms sector. Exemplary is the cooperation with the armored transport vehicle (GTK armored transport vehicle) Boxer and with the armored scout car Fennek. In addition, the usage cooperations are to be mentioned, for example, for the Leopard 2 battle tank or the 2000 self-propelled howitzer.


Nucleus for consolidation in naval shipbuilding?

The Ministry of Defense sees the conclusion of the contract for the multi-purpose combat ship 180 as an opportunity to explore further cooperation opportunities in the maritime sector. State Secretary Benedikt Zimmer is talking to his Dutch counterpart, State Secretary Barbara Visser. Military shipbuilding is a key national technology in both Germany and the Netherlands. However, this does not preclude cooperation. It is precisely through joint steps that the availability of security-critical technologies as well as the connection to the state of technological development can be guaranteed. The goal of each country is to provide its own navies with modern, ready-to-use submarines, boats and ships. But you also want to be able to offer competitive maritime units on the world market.

Hein van Ameijden, Managing Director of Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, explains: "It is also important to me: with the 'MKS 180' project, we are pushing ahead with European cooperation in naval shipbuilding and making a joint contribution to security for Europe."

Damen has delivered over 6,500 ships to more than 100 countries and, according to its own information, delivers around 175 ships to customers all over the world every year. In addition to marine units, the portfolio of the family-run company based in Gorinchem includes: tugs, work boats, units for coast guards, high-speed boats, cargo ships, dredgers, ships for the offshore industry, ferries, pontoons and luxury yachts.

Hans Uwe Mergener


Characteristics and tasks of the MKS 180

Length: about 155 meters of construction waterline
Displacement: maximum 9,000 tons
Berths Capacity: 110 Personen Stammbesatzung

70 people embarkation quotas

Operating time: 24 Months
Shipping routes: worldwide
Ice Class: 1C / E1 for sea areas with ice formation
Life: 30 years
armament: ·       Flugabwehrraketen mittlerer und kurzer Reichweite

Long-range missile missiles

· Main gun 127 millimeters with ammunition increased in range

· Water cannons, heavy machine guns, light naval guns

· Emergency boats, reconnaissance drones, submarine on-board helicopters

Primary function: ·       Selbstverteidigung und Kampfeinsätze

· Creation of a maritime situation picture above and under water

· Maritime surveillance and embargo control, including boarding

· Military evacuation in crisis situations

· Accompanying protection for merchant ships

· Management of task forces in the sea