The four MKS 180-class frigates under construction for the German Navy will feature Thales’ Mission and Combat System, which includes the comprehensive TACTICOS combat management system (CMS) and the Above-Water Warfare Suite (AWWS), under the terms of a €1.5 billion contract signed with Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding on 17 November.

The contract, which covers four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites, as well as an option for one or two additional vessels, illustrates the position Thales has developed in recent years as a leading naval systems integrator. Work will be carried out at Thales facilities in Hengelo (the Netherlans) and in German centres of excellence in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven. The first vessel is scheduled to enter operational service by 2028 and the entire project will run for ten years.

AWWS is a cutting-edge warfare suite that enables crews to counter and neutralise complex saturation attacks by continuously analysing and optimising the tactical environment and deployment of resources. In this application, the AWWS will be combined with the Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) BI2, the evolved version of Thales’s proven active electronically-scanned array (AESA) multifunction radar. Thales signed an AWWS development contract for the new M-frigates for the Belgian and Dutch navies last year.

The contract amply illustrates the cooperation between German and Dutch naval industries that has evolved over recent years. This has included numerous opportunities for Damen and Thales to innovate within naval shipbuilding projects, often with the participation of the Dutch MoD. This project underscores the companies’ joint ambition to build further cooperation with shipyards and partnering industries in high-end European naval programmes.

Winning such a substantial contract within the strict framework of an objective scoring system reinforces our global leading position in high-end naval integration. Thanks to our innovative capabilities, the German Navy will be able to execute both current and future tasks whilst substantially contributing to stability in the operational theatres all over the world,” commented Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands.

As a partner in the MKS 180 programme, Thales Deutschland not only contributes to a high German value-added share, but also brings many years of experience in European cooperation and proven systems expertise. This programme will create new, high-quality jobs in Germany, within an exemplary framework of European defence cooperation. We will also contribute to maintaining the German Navy's operational capability at the highest level within the alliance,” added Dr Christoph Hoppe, CEO of Thales Deutschland.

The first MKS 180 frigate will enter German Navy service by 2028. (Image: Damen Schelde)

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