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Damen brings Hamburg company on board for German frigates

Caption: Optonaval Managing Director Christopher Schäding (left) and Dirk Henneberg, Purchasing Manager for Damen Naval's F126 project (© Damen)

The Dutch shipbuilding group Damen has brought another German supplier on board for the German F126 frigate project.

The shipyard group, which won the German navy’s frigate project after a controversial tender and has set up its own German subsidiary, has now announced its collaboration with the company Optonaval.

Optonaval from Hamburg is to design, manufacture and monitor the so-called “Helicopter Visual Landing Aid System” (HVLAS) for the four frigates, which will enable safe helicopter operations by day and night.

Damen builds with German partners

“It is always a top priority for Damen Naval to identify and select the leading suppliers of state-of-the-art technology,” explained F126 Project Purchasing Manager Dirk Henneberg. “We are convinced that Optonaval offers the best system and at the same time we are pleased to have gained another German supplier as a partner for this ambitious newbuilding program.”

The Optonaval HVLAS system was reportedly developed specifically for the operational requirements of the new generation of NH90 naval helicopters, with a particular focus on night vision operations.

The four 166 m long frigates cost around €6 billion. According to Damen, the first ship is due to be handed over in 2028. Numerous partners and suppliers from Germany are involved in the construction, including the Lürssen Group. The Peene shipyard is building the sterns. Blohm + Voss and Thales Netherlands are also involved. The ships will be built exclusively in Germany – Damen could well imagine further cooperation with local shipbuilders, as Damen Naval Managing Director Magiel Venema emphasized to HANSA.

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