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On July 28, 2020, the first steel was cut for the eighth Corvette K130, the "Karlsruhe". Due to the corona, the so-called burning start in the German Naval Yards Kiel was celebrated in a small circle. This is actually a rather unspectacular act in which a plasma torch cuts the first piece of steel.

The boats of the second lot of the Corvette K130 are built by the Arbeitsgemeinschaft (ARGE) K130. These include Fr. Lürssen Werft, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards Kiel. The completion of the first foredeck manufactured in Kiel is planned for the summer of next year. While foreship No. 7 is being built at Lürssen, German Naval Yards Kiel is producing two more front sections. The roughly 43 meter long foreships are then brought to Hamburg to merge with the stern, the so-called “wedding thrust”. The stern ships of build numbers 7 to 10 of the second lot are being built by the Peene shipyard.

Construction number 6, "Cologne", is currently being equipped at the Blohm + Voss Lürssen site in Hamburg.

From here, all five corvettes go through the preparations for commissioning with functional tests and approvals - a process that is carried out in coordination with the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) and the German Navy.


Second lot K130 - Parliamentary Corvette

The procurement of the K130 corvettes dates back to the second half of the 1990s. Following a demand from the Navy in 1997, the plan was to replace the 40 speedboats of the German Navy with 15 corvettes. Mainly for budgetary reasons, the number of corvettes in the first lot was reduced to five. As a result of the austerity course pursued by Defense Ministers Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg and Thomas de Maizière, in 2012 the Guidelines for realigning the Bundeswehr a scope of five corvettes is committed. When the security situation was rethought and the armed forces' job profile changed, the procurement of five more corvettes was initiated - fueled by an impulse from two members of the government coalition. In the 2017 budget, an additional commitment authorization of EUR 1.5 billion was broken down into annual slices.

The construction contract signed in September 2017 includes the design and manufacture of the ships, including the integration of all systems and systems, including the electronics and weapon systems. In addition to training facilities, services (logistics, service, documentation, training of the first crew) are also part of the contract. While construction is taking place at the Lürssen locations in Bremen, Hamburg and Wolgast, at German Naval Yards Kiel and at the thyssenkrupp locations in Emden and Hamburg, a large number of supplier companies from all over Germany are involved in the overall project.

In April 2019, construction of the second batch of corvettes began with the first steel cut at Lürssen in Bremen. The handover of the "Cologne", the first ship of the second lot, to the German Navy is planned for the first quarter of 2023 according to the current armaments report of the Federal Government. The fifth unit, the "Lübeck", is scheduled for delivery in 2025. The Federal Budget Act 2020 shows a total of 2.047 billion euros for the procurement of the second lot of the Corvette class 130.

According to the current armaments report from the Ministry of Defense (June 2020), the project is within the time and cost frame, the deviation (measured by the first parliamentary treatment) to the next milestone "start delivery" is given as seven months. Corona-related friction could currently be compensated to a limited extent. It is therefore currently not possible to assess whether the framework schedule for the delivery of the on-site facilities and all five boats can be met. Financially, the project is five percent (112 million euros) above the estimate.

In May 2020, MP Ingo Gädechens, CDU chairman in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag, surprised with the proposal to procure another batch of five K130 Corvettes (ES & T reported). The total amount should not be increased. The new buildings are to replace the units of the first lot, which would have a lifespan of 20 years and more if the third lot was added. You would be to be sold. The Schleswig-Holstein parliamentarian's proposal is connected to the federal government's stimulus package to stimulate the economy in the corona pandemic. In addition to the operational reason for the Navy to avoid the failure of units due to the necessary repair of the first ships, he also sees this as an incentive for the shipyard location in Northern Germany. In addition, the costs for the necessary modernization measures of the first lot had to be offset.

Hans Uwe Mergener