Thales to deliver mission and combat system for new German frigates

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales have signed a EUR 1.5 billion contract for the delivery and integration of Thales’ mission and combat system for the four MKS 180 class frigates contracted by the German Navy. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites.

Thales’ mission and combat system includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster. AWWS is a cutting-edge warfare suite that helps the ship crews to counter and neutralise complex saturation attacks by continuously analysing and optimising the tactical environment and deployment of resources.

AWWS will be combined with APAR (Active Phased Array Radar) Bl2, the evolved version of Thales’sproven AESA (Active Electronically Scanned Array) multifunction radar. In 2019, Thales signed an AWWS development contract for the new M-frigates for the Belgian and Dutch Navies. Also see the video below.

MKS 180 contract

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) signed the contract for the 4 ships with the German Bundesamt fur Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) earlier this year. DSNS had previously prevailed with its offer in a multi-year European tender. This complex project involves the construction of four frigates (plus a land-based test facility), with an option to build two more.

Underpinning this contract is the proven cooperation of German and Dutch naval industries, including numerous joint opportunities for Damen and Thales in the Netherlands to innovate within naval shipbuilding projects, often with the participation of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Defence. This bi-national project, a perfect example of defence industry collaboration, could spark further future bi-national or multi-national cooperation in EU context.

Local added value

The ships will be designed by Damen and completely built by German shipyards, under Damen’s project management. Together with Blohm+Voss as building partner in Germany, DSNS aims to handle the project in such a way that around eighty per cent of the total investment remains in Germany as local added value. The ships will be built at yards in Hamburg, Kiel and Wolgast.

The scope of the contract with Thales will be executed in a similar way: about seventy per cent of the services are performed by the Thales Germany organisation, with locations in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, in cooperation with a substantial number of subcontractors in Germany, alongside Thales’ naval centre of excellence in the Netherlands.

‘As a partner in the MKS 180 programme, Thales Deutschland not only contributes to a high German value-added share, but also brings many years of experience in European cooperation and proven systems expertise,’ says Dr. Christoph Hoppe, CEO of Thales Deutschland. ‘This programme will create new, high-quality jobs in Germany, within an exemplary framework of European defence cooperation. We will also contribute to maintaining the German Navy’s operational capability at the highest level within the alliance.’

The first ship of the MKS 180 class will be operational in 2028. The entire programme will run for over ten years. The contract with Thales also includes the option for one or two additional ships.

Author: Mariska Buitendijk

Mariska Buitendijk is one of SWZ|Maritime's journalists as well as the magazine's copy editor.