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Damen Naval marks official start of construction phase F126 frigates

The F126 project reached a major milestone on 5 December 2023: the cutting of the first steel for the new multi-purpose frigates for the German Navy.

Main contractor Damen Naval and project partner NVL Group invited more than 200 guests to attend the official and festive ceremony at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast, Germany. The cutting of the first steel marks the official start of the project’s construction phase.

“We are proud to be able to start cutting steel entirely on schedule on 5 December. We were able to complete the development phase in record time, something that is partly due to the excellent cooperation with BAAINBW, the Navy and the other German authorities,” said Damen Shipyards Group CEO Arnout Damen.

“The F126 project is an important contribution to the technological sovereignty of the German, Dutch and European defence industry. The cooperation with our partners Blohm+Voss and Thales is excellent, and the project is now also recognised worldwide as one of the most exciting frigate construction projects.”

In June 2020, the equipment management organisation of the Bundeswehr, BAAINBw, awarded the construction contract for the four F126 frigates to Damen Naval as head contractor, together with subcontractors Blohm+Voss and Thales. It is the largest shipbuilding project in the history of the German navy and the contract includes an option for two more frigates.

Over the past three and a half years, Damen Naval and its partners have worked hard on the design for the vessels, although that work has been largely invisible to the outside world, says Magiel Venema, Director of Damen Naval Germany.

“The steel cutting is the first visible shipbuilding step of the project as well as the first tangible milestone taking place in Germany itself. The ships will now start taking shape, so everyone can see what is slowly being created.”

The ships will be built entirely in Germany at shipyards in Wolgast, Kiel and Hamburg. The steelwork and pre-assembly for the stern will take place at the Peene shipyard in Wolgast, part of the NVL Group.

The foreship will be built in Kiel, where it will be assembled with the stern and towed by sea to Blohm+Voss in Hamburg. Final outfitting, commissioning, testing and delivery, as well as outfitting of the on-board systems, will take place at Blohm+Voss in Hamburg. Delivery of the first ship is scheduled for 2028.

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