RENK’s propulsion systems to power German Navy’s F126 frigates

Augsburg-based propulsion specialist RENK has received an order to provide gearboxes and electric propulsion systems for four new F126 frigates for the German Navy.

The company signed a contract with Dutch shipbuilding company Damen Naval, which is building the frigates for the German Navy. Earlier on, RENK worked with Damen Naval. This has included the construction of frigates and offshore patrol vessels for the navies of the Netherlands, Mexico, Morocco, and Indonesia.

Ships such as the predecessor classes F125 and F124 are equipped with RENK gearboxes. Now, the new propulsion system represents one key difference between the future F126 and older frigate models: the combined diesel electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system provides a top speed of more than 26 knots, the company noted.

RENK’s gearboxes connect each diesel engine with its drive shaft. The propulsion systems specialists will not only supply the gearbox but also the RENK electric drives (AED). These electric propulsion motors drive the propellers either individually or together with the diesel engine.

This is the first time the German Navy is utilising this propulsion concept, the company emphasized.

“The CODLAD configuration offers a … combination of increased power density, noise reduction through soft-elastic bearings, and flexible couplings as well as low weight and low installation height. The second evolutionary stage of the AED will now be installed on the F 126 frigates. RENK has optimised significant aspects of the drive system for naval applications. As a consequence, the design meets the low noise levels specified by the German Navy. This makes the new frigates difficult to detect, particularly in the lower speed range covered by the AED,” according to RENK.

Sensor solutions provider Hensoldt, together with combat system integrator Thales, will provide TRS-4D naval radars, while Swedish-Swiss tech firm ABB will supply its Onboard DC Grid systems for the new multi-purpose frigates.

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In June 2020, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) awarded the construction contract for the four ships to Damen as the general contractor.

Damen Naval will deliver the 166-metre-long frigates to the German Navy as general contractor together with its sub-contractors Blohm + Voss and Thales.

The ships will be constructed entirely in Germany at shipyards in Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg. The first ship will be handed over in Hamburg in 2028. The contract includes an option for two further frigates.

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