Bundestag awards €6 billion for German Navy’s four MKS 180 ships

The Bundestag — German federal parliament — has allocated around €6 billion for the procurement of four MKS 180 multipurpose combat ships for the German Navy.

This was announced today by the country’s defense ministry.

With the latest parliamentary decision, nothing stands in the way of the largest naval order of this type in the history of the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr).

The Bundeswehr has an option to purchase two more MKS 180 ships.

MKS 180 project

In January this year, Dutch shipyard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding, together with its partners Blohm+Voss and Thales, won a tender for the Mehrzweckkampfschiff MKS 180 project.

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Under the terms of the contract, the ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg and at other shipyard locations of the North German Lürssen Group.

They will feature a displacement of around 9,000 tons and a length of 155 meters. The core crew of the ships would be a complement of 110 while an additional 70 crew would be in charge of the mission modules.

MKS 180 is envisioned as a modular ship, meaning that it will be capable of assuming anti-submarine, anti-air and surface warfare missions.

The decision by the defense ministry to award the contract to Damen was challenged by Kiel-based shipyard German Naval Yards (GNYK). The shipyard filed an official complaint to relevant government agencies for the decision to be reviewed. This was expected to prolong the construction of the new combat vessels.

However, last month, German Naval Yards and Lürssen — the parent company of Blohm+Voss — unveiled a decision to merge their respective businesses. The existing activities in military and naval surface vessel building will be incorporated into a joint venture company led by Bremen-based Lürssen Group.

On May 14, 2020, German Naval Yards withdrew the review application related to MKS 180 the award decision. As a result, the public procurement tribunal discontinued the procedure.

The consolidation of the two players, which were rivals in the MKS 180 tender, has resolved the conflict and allowed the construction of the multipurpose combat ships to move forward.

Photo: German defence ministry