Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) and Thales have signed a contract for the delivery and integration of the mission and combat system for the German Navy’s new MKS 180 class frigates, the company announced. Thales’ Mission and Combat System includes the Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites.
Earlier this year, DSNS and the German Bundesamt fur Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the contract for the design and construction of four MKS-180 frigates for the German Navy. 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.
DSNS managing director Hein van Ameijden said, “Behind this achievement lie more than five decades of DSNS’ experience developing and building eight generations of naval combatant vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) and other navies around the world, with the involvement of the entire Dutch maritime sector as well as the innovative input provided by numerous Dutch research institutes. The RNLN has been a launching customer and innovator for various novel technologies, including the advanced sensor and radar suites developed by Thales Nederland.”
DSNS and Thales will take their joint technological know-how to an even higher level during the design and construction of the MKS180 frigates for the German Navy. Together with Blohm+Voss as building partner in Germany, DSNS aims to handle the project in such a way that around 80% 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 also highlights the German value creation and know-how development: about 70% 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.
This bi-national project, a perfect example of defence industry collaboration, could spark further future bi-national or multi-national cooperation in EU context. Meanwhile Damen, Thales and Blohm+Voss continue, together with customer and new partners, to realise a high-quality frigate that meets all the requirements of the German Navy and sets a European standard for future-proof naval capabilities.
The MKS 180 is a resilient, multi-purpose ship designed for long periods at sea, fulfilling a broad range of low-, medium- and high-intensity missions: monitoring maritime areas, reinforcing sea rescue teams and humanitarian aid efforts or supporting special forces in crisis zones. This adaptability places high demands on the ship’s mission systems in terms of performance, availability, maintainability and ease of use.
Thales Solutions for the German Navy
Thales’s Tacticos Combat Management System is already operational throughout the German fleet, and was a prerequisite in order to counter present and future threats. The company’s AWW (Above Water Warfare) system – currently under contract for the Dutch and Belgian navies – is also on board the vessel; its new APAR Bl2 radar and intelligent software provide a continuous, optimal response to multiple, complex threat scenarios.
In addition, in light of the ship’s broad deployment capabilities, it will be equipped with a wide variety of weapons and other effectors, such as the next-generation Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile, surface-to-surface missiles and a 127mm gun, as well as the RAM (rolling airframe missile) self-defence system and electronic warfare support measures.
As Thales Chairman and CEO Patrice Caine says, the signing of the MKS 180 contract is proof that Thales continues to be a technology leader in the maritime domain: “This huge contract anchors our position as global leader in high-end naval systems integration. The German Navy will benefit from cutting-edge technological systems thanks to the diversity of talents at Thales.”
The MKS 180 programme reflects the trust that nations have in Thales to develop and deploy high-end naval cybersecurity solutions that are capable of responding not only to the threats of today but also to those that their navies will face in the years to come.
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