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The keel of the first of four F126 frigates is laid in Wolgast

The keel of the first of four F126 class frigates had been laid at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast. Their construction will take another four years.

Federal Minister of Defense Boris Pistorius (SPD), Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania’s Minister President Manuela Schwesig (SPD), Lower Saxony’s Minister President Stephan Weil (SPD) and partners from the industry were present at the ceremony. The first of the four new frigates will be named “Niedersachsen”.

The latest F126 class frigates are set to become the largest combat ships ever built by the German Navy. Under the leadership of the Dutch shipyard Damen Shipyards, which won the tender more than four years ago, four of the 166 m long ships will initially be built in Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg. Blohm+Voss is also involved in the project as part of Lürssen.

Kaack urgently calls for two more frigates

However, there is already an option to add two more frigates. However, a final decision has not yet been made. Only recently, naval inspector Jan Christian Kaack spoke out in favour of ordering two more units quickly. Among other things, he referred to the changed security situation and the importance of the German navy for the protection of critical infrastructure. Any delay would lead to an increase in costs, according to Kaack.

The four frigates will cost around €6bn. 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. Thales Netherlands is also involved as a system partner.

According to the Bundeswehr, the ship class is designed as an all-purpose weapon. The ships should, therefore, be able to operate anywhere in the world and for long periods of time, monitor embargoes, or defend themselves against other warships or submarines.

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