Germany’s F126 Frigate: The 10,000-Ton Marvel Begins Construction

In a significant milestone for the German Navy, the construction of the F126 frigate has officially commenced by Damen with the first steel cutting ceremony at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast. This event, attended by over 200 guests, marks the beginning of the construction phase of these powerful frigates, set to enhance the prestige of Germany’s naval forces.

Arnout Damen, CEO of Damen Shipyards, highlighted the project’s progress and its role in bolstering the technological development of the German and European defense industries. The F126 construction project, a collaboration with Blohm+Voss and Thales, is noted for its rapid development phase and global recognition as one of the most exciting frigate construction projects, boasting an impressive displacement of approximately 10,550 tons.

Germany's F126 Frigate: The 10,000-Ton Marvel Begins Construction
Photo credit @ Felix Matthies via DAMEN

The contract for building four F126 frigates, with an option for two more, was awarded to Damen Naval, Blohm+Voss, and Thales by the Bundeswehr’s equipment management organization (BAAINBw) in June 2020. This project is the largest in the history of the German navy and represents a pivotal step in modernizing Germany’s naval capabilities.

With a length of 166 meters and a displacement of up to 10,000 tons, the F126 frigates will be the largest in the German fleet. Their construction, entirely in Germany, signifies a boost to the national shipbuilding industry and an increase in domestic employment, with the first ship scheduled for delivery in 2028.

This ambitious project not only underscores Germany’s commitment to strengthening its naval prowess but also demonstrates the country’s dedication to advancing its shipbuilding industry, ensuring a robust and technologically advanced naval future.

Germany's F126 Frigate: The 10,000-Ton Marvel Begins Construction
Damen Shipyards Group CEO Arnout Damen and Lürssen CEO Friedrich Lürssen Photo credit @ Felix Matthies VIA DAMEN

About the F126 Frigate

The F126 frigate, a cutting-edge addition to the German Navy. With a displacement of approximately 10,550 tons and a length of 166 meters, it stands as one of the largest vessels in the German fleet. This project, a collaboration between Damen Shipyards, Blohm+Voss, and Thales, is notable for its advanced technological features and rapid development phase. Awarded in 2020, the F126 is designed to bolster Germany’s naval strength and modernize its fleet. The first of these formidable frigates is scheduled for delivery in 2028.

In addition to its impressive size and technological advancements, the F126 frigate boasts a formidable array of weaponry, ensuring its capability in various combat scenarios. The primary armament includes eight Kongsberg NSM Block 1a anti-ship missiles, with a range of approximately 200 kilometers, providing significant offensive power against surface threats. For close-in defense, the frigate is equipped with two RIM-116 RAM CIWS systems, offering robust protection against incoming missiles and aircraft.

Germany's F126 Frigate: The 10,000-Ton Marvel Begins Construction
Photo by Damen

Further enhancing its defensive capabilities, the F126 features sixteen Mk 41 VLS cells, capable of housing up to 64 ESSM Block 2B medium-range air defense missiles, each with a range of about 50 kilometers. This system ensures a layered defense against aerial threats at various ranges.

The frigate’s artillery includes one Otobreda 127/64 naval gun, equipped with precision-guided Vulcano munitions, offering both long-range striking power and accuracy. Additionally, the ship is armed with two MLG27-4.0 27mm guns from Rheinmetall, providing effective firepower for close-range engagements. Complementing these, the frigate also features 12.7mm machine guns from Leonardo, adding to its comprehensive defensive and offensive capabilities. This array of advanced weaponry positions the F126 frigate as a formidable player in naval warfare, ready to tackle a wide range of maritime threats.

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