Damen Naval has signed a contract with Augsburg-based propulsion specialist RENK to provide gearboxes and electric propulsion systems for German Navy’s four future F126 frigates.

RENK’s new combined diesel electric and diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system will provide speed of up to 26k.

The gearboxes will be used for connecting each diesel engine with the drive shaft.

Apart from gearbox and propulsion system, RENK will provide advanced electric drives (AED).

The second-generation AED will drive the propellers either individually or together with the diesel engine.

According to Damen Naval, this is the first time the German Navy’s frigates will use this propulsion concept.

With the new CODLAD configuration, the propulsion systems will provide noise reduction through soft-elastic bearings, increased power density, flexible couplings along with low weight and installation height.

In a press statement, Damen Naval said: “The second evolutionary stage of the AED will now be installed on the F126 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 new frigates difficult to detect, particularly in the lower speed range covered by the AED.”

In 2020, the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) selected Damen Naval as the general contractor for the construction of four F126 frigates.

The programme also involves two subcontractors – Blohm+Voss and Thales.

Furthermore, the contract includes additional option for two more frigates.

Construction of around 166m-long F126 or MKS 180 multi-purpose combat ships will take place at shipyards in Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg in Germany.

Delivery of first frigate to the German Navy is expected in 2028 in Hamburg.