For the German Navy and the country’s defence capabilities, the keel laying ceremony of Germany’s frigate “Niedersachsen” lays the groundwork for a new era of maritime capabilities and security.

The ceremony, which took place at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast, marked the commencement of construction on the first frigate of the F126 class, setting the stage for a transformative phase in Germany’s naval capabilities.

In June 2020, the German parliament approved the purchase of multipurpose MKS 180 vessels to replace the German Navy’s Brandenburg class frigates. The first ship will be delivered to the German Navy in 2027, and the remaining ships will be delivered by 2031. As highlighted in GlobalData’s intelligence on the German defence market, MKS 180 is designed to be a modular ship that can perform surface warfare, anti-air, and anti-submarine missions.

The “Niedersachsen” Germany frigate

The event, graced by the presence of Defence Minister Boris Pistorius and other dignitaries, exemplified Germany’s commitment to fortifying its naval fleet for the future. As Pistorius personally hammered the first nail into the coin plate of the future frigate, the symbolism of the act resonated with the nation’s determination to reinforce its maritime and national defence.

The “Niedersachsen,” a flagship of the F126 class frigates, represents a step forward in Germany’s naval capabilities. With a length of 166 metres and a displacement of around 10,000 tonnes, these vessels are set to become the largest combat ships within the German armed forces. With crews of up to 198 soldiers, the frigates are engineered to facilitate three-dimensional naval warfare, enabling them to engage targets across air, water, and underwater domains.

Defense Minister Pistorius emphasised the importance of this naval project, underscoring its role in enhancing Germany’s national and alliance defence, “With a total of six frigates of this type, we will not only be operational, but also sustainable. It was designed to be able to withstand national and alliance defence. It is essential for our credible deterrence, especially when it comes to protecting our northern flank.” Said the minister.

Industry partnership and advancements

Driven by several high-value procurement programmes worldwide, including the German Navy’s MKS 180 Multirole Combat Ship, among others, the frigate segment is expected to account for a 30.1% revenue share of the total market over the forecast period, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Naval Vessels and Surface Combatants Market 2023-2033” report.

Furthermore, the project serves as a sign of Germany’s dedication to advocating for secure sea routes. More than 70% of the value added for the frigates and the participation of more than 65 German contractors in their construction bolster the country’s economy and domestic industrial capabilities.

Thales has provided the SATCOM system for the German Navy’s F126 frigates, marking another step forward in advancing the project. To further advance the F126 frigate project, Thales has also inaugurated a testing centre in partnership with the German Navy and BAAINBw, located in Hengelo, Netherlands.