TechGerman navy begins construction on largest post-WWII ship

German navy begins construction on largest post-WWII ship

F126-class frigate - visualization
F126-class frigate - visualization
Images source: © Thales

11:18 AM EDT, June 5, 2024

On June 3, at the NVL Group Peene-Werft shipyard in Wolgast, a ceremony was held to begin constructing the first F126 frigate – Niedersachsen. This will be the largest ship built for the German Navy since World War II.

The official start of construction is mainly symbolic, as work on the new ship’s components began six months ago. The plan stipulates that the first of the six ships (initially four were planned) will begin service as early as 2028.

Although these units are officially called frigates, their size matches that of modern destroyers. When planning the construction of large ships, the Germans assumed they would be assembled from components produced in various shipyards.

According to ZBiAM, the stern sections will be built in Wolgast, then towed to Kiel, where they will be connected to the bow section, and the completed hull will be transferred to Hamburg for finishing work.

German F126 frigates

The new frigates were initially known as MKS180, but in December 2020, the German Ministry of Defense announced an official name change to F126. These ships feature an innovative, modular design, allowing them to alter their characteristics and capabilities through mission modules.

The F126 frigates have a length of 52 feet, a displacement exceeding 11,000 tons, and a relatively small crew size for a ship of this scale with a crew of 114. Although their autonomy is 21 days, they are designed for replenishment at sea and crew rotation (4-month tours are planned), enabling the ship to operate without docking for repairs for up to two years.

The ship’s main armament will include eight NSM anti-ship missile launchers (in Poland, the Naval Missile Unit is armed with them) and 16 vertical MK 41 container launchers with ESSM anti-aircraft missiles.

The bow also features a 5-inch Otobreda 127/64 gun turret. This weapon can fire-guided Vulcano artillery shells with a range of up to 75 miles and standard ammunition with a range of up to 19 miles.

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