Damen Naval Marks Official Start of Construction Phase F126 Frigates

(Image credit: Damen Naval)

The prestigious F126 project reached a major milestone: the cutting of the first steel for the new multi-purpose frigates for the German Navy. Main contractor Damen Naval and project partner NVL Group invited more than 200 guests to attend the official and festive ceremony at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast, Germany.

The cutting of the first steel marks the official start of the project’s construction phase.

“We are proud to be able to start cutting steel entirely on schedule on 5 December. We were able to complete the development phase in record time, something that is partly due to the excellent cooperation with BAAINBW, the Navy and the other German authorities,” said Damen Shipyards Group CEO Arnout Damen. “The F126 project is an important contribution to the technological sovereignty of the German, Dutch and European defense industry. The cooperation with our partners Blohm+Voss and Thales is excellent, and the project is now also recognised worldwide as one of the most exciting frigate construction projects.”

In June 2020, the equipment management organisation of the Bundeswehr, BAAINBw, awarded the construction contract for the four F126 frigates to Damen Naval as head contractor, together with subcontractors Blohm+Voss and Thales. It is the largest shipbuilding project in the history of the German navy and the contract includes an option for two more frigates.

Over the past three and a half years, Damen Naval and its partners have worked hard on the design for the vessels, although that work has been largely invisible to the outside world, says Magiel Venema, Director of Damen Naval Germany. “The steel cutting is the first visible shipbuilding step of the project as well as the first tangible milestone taking place in Germany itself. The ships will now start taking shape, so everyone can see what is slowly being created.”

2 Damen Naval marks official start of construction phase F126 frigates 2Damen Naval marks official start of construction phase F126 frigates (Image credit: Damen Naval)

The ships will be built entirely in Germany at shipyards in Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg. The steelwork and pre-assembly for the stern will take place at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast, part of the NVL Group. The foreship will be built in Kiel, where it will be assembled with the stern and towed by sea to Blohm+Voss in Hamburg. Final outfitting, commissioning, testing and delivery, as well as outfitting of the on-board systems, will take place at Blohm+Voss in Hamburg. Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for 2028.

Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Defence of Germany, Siemtje Möller MdB states, “With the F126 frigates, the navy has a modern asset that, in future, can serve as an effective deterrent and defence for our alliances and for our own security in all maritime operations and operational areas around the world. In doing so, we demonstrate our reliability and professionalism, but above all our determination and will to stand up for our security and that of our partners. Now, the focus should be to stay on course so that the ships are delivered on time.”

With a length of 166 meters and a displacement of up to 10,000 tonnes, the F126 frigates will be the largest in the German naval fleet. The versatile multi-mission platforms can operate all over the world and in all conditions, from the tropics to the polar regions.

“We are delighted to start production of the F126 today and to contribute our shipbuilding skills and expertise to the project together with head contractor Damen,” NVL Group CEO Tim Wagner explained. “Our yard in Wolgast is a reliable partner for the German Navy in the construction and repair of highly complex naval vessels. Thanks to targeted support measures, extensive investments in infrastructure, and the high motivation of our employees, the Peene-Werft is a shipyard with clear prospects for the future. The construction of the stern ships will secure employment until 2028 – with positive effects for the entire region.”

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