Three bidders spar for German Navy’s €4B MKS 180 contract

A possible design of the German Navy's Multi-role Combat Ship. Photo: Bundeswehr

Three teams of shipbuilders are competing for the contract to build the German Navy’s new Multi-role Combat Ship 180 (Mehrzweckkampfschiff – MKS 180) – previously designated as ‘Korvette 131’.

German Naval Yards Kiel has teamed up with British BAE Systems to submit a construction offer thereby joining the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems/Lürssen duo and the Dutch-German team made up of Damen and the Blohm+Voss shipyard.

Four ships are planned to be built with the first one entering service in 2023 under a planned budget of €3.9 billion (US$4.3 billion). The ships will be continuing with the multiple crewing concept initiated by the F 125 frigate program.

Operational requirements initially set the number of ships to be built at 6, but financial constraints forced the Department of Defense to cut the number to four. According to the German Navy, the decision whether to build boats five and six will be made at a later point in time.

Ship designs are already available according to the officials. The ships are expected to be capable of tackling targets above and below water but also of supporting land missions.

Armament should feature a 127 mm naval gun while naval surface to air missiles should be capable of hitting targets at a distance of 25 kilometers thereby enabling protection from air threats.

The ships should be equipped with towed sonars for anti-submarine warfare and include sick bays or detention rooms for counter-piracy missions. Additional flexibility would be provided by an embarked helicopter and RHIBs for rapid deployment of boarding parties.

While the planned complement is up to 180 personnel, it has been noted that the number has nothing to do with the designation number in MKS 180.

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