The project Multi-Purpose Combat Ship (Mehrzweckkampfschiff) 180 “MKS180” will be renamed to Frigate Class 126 “F126” – The ship is based on the principles of Intensive Usability and Multi Crew Concept of the Frigate Class 125 “F125”. The first 4 ships are scheduled for delivery in 2028.
For the record, the German parliament (Bundestag) formally approved the procurement of four multi-purpose MKS 180 vessels in June 2020. In the contract, the Bundeswehr keeps an option open for the procurement of two additional ships. The same month, Damen Shipyards Group and the German Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the contract for the construction of four MKS 180 frigates for the German Navy.
Damen and Thales signed last month the contract for the delivery and full integration of Thales’s Mission and Combat System for these frigates.
While the name of the first-in-class F126 is still unknown, the designation follows the series of German Navy frigates classes:
- F125 Baden-Württemberg-class
- F124 Sachsen-class
- F123 Brandenburg-class
- F122 Bremen-class
- F120 Köln-class
The German BAAINBw also announced yesterday that an agreement was reached for the procurement of eight RAM close in weapon systems (CIWS) for the future frigates.
About F126 Frigate
Thales will be providing the following systems:
- Tacticos combat management system
- Satcom system
- APAR Block 2 x-band multifunction radar for AWWS
- Gatekeeper 360° IR/TV system
- Mirador MK2 EO tracking and observation system
Other equipment (non Thales) that will be fuzed with the Thales systems (Tacticos + AWWS):
- MK41 VLS for ESSM Block 2
- Naval Strike Missile (NSM)
- KORA C-ESM and R-ESM
- TRS-4D c-band air and surface surveillance radar
- RAM CIWS
- 127mm main gun with Vulcano extended range precision munition
The decoy launchers will likely be the MASS by Rheinmetall. MKS 180 will be fitted with a sonar suite as well, but the competition for this contract is still ongoing.
Thales’s Mission and Combat System includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites, as well as the option for one or two additional ships.
The MKS 180 will be a multi-mission platform. Built-in modules designed for specific military missions will make this possible. These mission modules are at the heart of what “multipurpose combat ship” means in practice.
- Self-defense and combat missions
- Creation of a maritime picture above and under water
- Maritime surveillance and embargo control, including VBSS
- Military evacuation in crisis situations
- Escort for merchant ships
- Command of a naval task force
F126 Main Characteristics
- Length: approximately 155 meters at waterline
- Displacement: maximum 9,000 tonnes
- Accommodation: 110 crew, 70 passengers
- Operating endurance: 24 months
- Operating area: worldwide
- Ice class: 1C / E1 for sea areas with ice formation
- Service life: 30 years