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On April 23, Thales officially opened an expanded test center in Hengelo for carrying out system testing and integration for components of the frigate F126 in the presence of representatives of the future user, Deutsche Marine, the procurement office BAAINBw, the main contractor, Damen Naval, and other project partners .

Last year, Thales had already doubled its local production capacity in the Netherlands by expanding its own testing and integration facilities, the company writes. From planning to construction to opening, the expanded Thales test center is a real joint effort between the German Navy, BAAINBw, Damen, Dura Vermeer and Thales.

The new center will serve as a hub for the project partners to collaborate on F126, Thales continued. The facility enables the production of prototypes, system validation, integration and testing before shipping to Germany, where the frigates are built. The facility provides a physical environment for collaboration, innovation and co-development of solutions that meet customer needs. In addition, system testing and integration will also take place in this facility.

According to Thales, the building is equipped with several test bays for the ships' sensors and other hardware. In addition, the integration of the mission system into the Combat Management System TACTICOS will be validated here.

Artists impression of the F126 at sea (Photo: Damen Naval)

“With today’s inauguration of the expanded Thales test center, we are reaching an important milestone in the F126 project. Together we have created a collaborative environment that allows our colleagues, partners and customers to work together on the innovative solutions for the F126 frigates,” said Dirk Jan de Bruijn, VP Above Water Systems Thales.

In November 2020, Thales entered into a contract with Damen Naval for the supply and full integration of the Thales mission and combat system for the four German F126 frigates (ESuTreported). Thales thus became part of the largest shipbuilding project in the history of the German Navy. The contract includes the option for two additional frigates. The first ship is scheduled to be delivered to the German Navy in 2028.

Thales will be involved in the frigates by supplying most of the sensors and integrating the combat system through the Combat Management System Tacticos. In addition, Thales will provide the SurfSAT-L satellite communications system and various logistical services, including multiple land-based testing and training sites. According to Thales, all of these solutions are delivered cyber-secure from the outset and prepared for all modern threats.

Editorial staff / gwh