On June 10, 2020, the Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223) was officially commissioned – due to the current corona pandemic, the ceremony took place on a small scale. The Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223) is the second out of a total of four frigates after the Baden-Württemberg (F222) to become available to the German Navy. The ships are the most modern and powerful frigates ever built in Germany.
With their highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors, the completely redesigned F125 class ships feature a very high degree of automation, making it possible to halve the crew size compared to previous frigate classes. The ships can remain in their operational area for up to two years. This will considerably reduce the number of otherwise very long transit journeys. The Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223) successfully implements the intensive use concept, just like the Baden-Württemberg (F222), which has been in service since June 2019.
In addition to the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, the ships are designed for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations on an international scale. Alongside their capability to engage targets on land and water, they also have air defence systems and helicopters specially equipped for submarine hunting.
The contract for the construction of the four frigates entered into force in June 2007. This was followed by the concept, design and detailed construction phase. Around 90 percent of the highly complex systems on board the F125 were newly developed specifically for this type of ship.
After the Baden-Württemberg (F222) and the Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223), the Sachsen-Anhalt and (F224) the Rheinland-Pfalz (F225) will follow in 2021 according to current plans. The new F125 class is named after the first ship and is therefore called the Baden-Württemberg class.
ARGE F125 was formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as lead company and the Bremen-based Fr. Lürssen shipyard. The fore ships with corresponding pre-fitting were built at the Lürssen Group’s shipyard sites in Bremen and Wolgast. The production of the stern ships, the assembly of the ship halves, the further final outfitting as well as the commissioning and testing were carried out under the leadership of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg.
Principal data of the F125
149 m/489 feet
18 m/59 feet
> 26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h
approximately 7,200 t
maximum 190 persons (of which 126 are regular crew)
On March 5th, in Rio de Janeiro, Emgepron, an independent state company, linked to the Ministry of Defense through the Brazilian Navy Command, and Águas Azuis, a company created by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Embraer Defense & Security and Atech, signed the contract for building four state-of-the-art Tamandaré Class Ships, with deliveries scheduled between 2025 and 2028.
The construction will take place 100% in Brazil, in Itajaí, Santa Catarina State, and is expected to have local content rates above 30% for the first vessel and 40% for the others. Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will supply the naval technology of its proven MEKO Class shipbuilding platform of defence vessels that is already in operation in 15 countries. Embraer will integrate sensors and weaponry into the combat system, bringing also to the program its 50 years’ experience in systems technology solutions and in-service support.
Atech, an Embraer Group company, will be the supplier of the Combat Management System (CMS) and Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), from L3 MAPPS, and the recipient of technology transfer in cooperation with ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, a ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems subsidiary that produces the CMS and sonar systems.
«We are grateful to participate again in such important milestone in the history of Brazil’s naval defence with the most advanced ships in their class. Looking back the great achievements we had since the construction of Tupi Class submarines in 1980s, it is a recognition of the technological excellence, reliability and longevity solutions we have offered for almost two centuries. The Tamandaré Class Programme will strengthen our ties by transferring technology and generating highly qualified jobs for the country», said Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
«The partnership validates our efforts to expand our defence and security portfolio beyond the aeronautical segment. Over the past few years, we have acquired expertise in developing and integrating complex systems, among others, in order to qualify Embraer to meet the needs of the Brazilian Navy, further strengthening our position as a strategic partner of the Brazilian State», said Embraer Defense & Security President and CEO Jackson Schneider.
In addition to construction, the contract includes a sustained transfer of technology in naval engineering for building military ships and combat and platform management systems, as well as integrated logistical support and lifecycle management.
The Tamandaré Class Programme has the potential to generate direct and indirect job opportunities of high level of qualification. It provides for a solid national partnership model with proven ability to transfer technology and qualify local labour, which guarantees the development of future strategic defence projects in Brazil.
The naval alliance between thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and Embraer Defense & Security can also enable creating a base for exporting naval defence products from Brazil.
On 3 March 2020, the frigate Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223) was handed over by the ARGE F125 consortium to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw). Following the delivery, the «complete prerequisites for the operability of the ship» will be provided by the Navy and the future crew will receive further training on board. The Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223) is the second of four class F125 vessels being built for the German Navy under the leadership of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The lead ship of the frigate class F125, the Baden-Württemberg (F222), was handed over at the end of April 2019 and put into service in June 2019. The third unit [Sachsen-Anhalt (F224)] is slated for delivery this year and the fourth [Rheinland-Pfalz (F225)] in 2021.
Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: «The F125 is the most modern frigate in Germany and one of the most modern frigates in the world. Here we are implementing the concept of intensive use for the first time. This is unique worldwide. We are proud to make a significant contribution to the operational capability of our Navy and the defence of our country with these ships».
The acceptance ceremony took place at the naval base in Wilhelmshaven. The ship had arrived there the day before from the shipyard in Hamburg. On board the Nordrhein-Westfalen (F223), representatives of the F125 consortium and the Federal Office signed the acceptance documents. The Federal Office in Koblenz was represented by project manager Marc Steffens and the Head of the Acceptance Commission, Wolfgang Lotz, while ARGE project manager Christian Rogge from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems represented the industry. Delegates from the German Navy also took part in the acceptance ceremony.
By implementing the intensive use concept, class F125 ships can remain in the operational area for up to two years. This can considerably reduce the number of otherwise very long transit journeys. The completely redesigned vessels have highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors that enable a very high degree of automation. This made it possible to reduce the required number of crew members by about half compared to previous frigate classes. Around 90 percent of the systems on board the frigates were newly developed specifically for this type of ship.
Besides the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, the ships are designed especially for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations in an international context. In addition to the ability to engage targets on both land and water, they also have air defence systems and helicopters specially equipped for submarine hunting.
ARGE F125 comprises ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company and the Bremen based Fr. Lürssen shipyard. The pre-fitted bow sections were produced at the shipyards of the Lürssen Group in Bremen and in Wolgast on the Baltic Sea. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two vessel halves, further fitting-out, commissioning and testing all took place at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg under the direction of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
Principal data of the F125
149 m/489 feet
18 m/59 feet
> 26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h
approximately 7,200 t
maximum 190 persons (of which 126 are regular crew)
The «Emden» (F-266) is the seventh ship in the Braunschweig class of the German Navy. The Navy put the first five of this type of warship into service between 2008 and 2013. The Bundeswehr deploys them internationally, including for the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) mission off the coast of Lebanon.
In 2017, the Bundeswehr placed an order for five additional class K130 corvettes. Work on the new «Koln» (F-265) corvette then began in February 2019.
From 2022, ships six to ten will join the Navy. They are supplied by a consortium of three companies: Fr. Lürssen Werft, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards Kiel.
«Today’s keel laying shows impressively how the team of employees from different companies has grown together and works in close cooperation with the customer», said Tim Wagner, Managing Director of Lürssen Werft.
Two of the five foreships are being built at the Lürssen shipyard in Bremen, three are being manufactured and pre-equipped at the German Naval Yards site in Kiel. The final five ships are manufactured at the Wolgaster Peene shipyard. The Lürssen subsidiary Blohm + Voss in Hamburg is responsible for the union of the fore and aft sections of the ship.
The roughly 89-meter-long/292-foot-long corvettes will also be fully equipped and put into operation there. They also go through their functional tests and approvals from Hamburg – in coordination with the specialist departments of the client, the Bundeswehr and the Navy.
Adjustments to new standards and five traditional names
For the new ships in the class, changes to the first five corvettes in some systems and in the IT information technology systems are necessary to take account of the current status of laws and regulations.
Future upgrades during scheduled docking times should also bring the older corvettes up to date. These changes are visible in a new cladding for the turret of the main gun and in a second speed boat as a dinghy for the ships.
Last but not least, the construction of the «Emden» (F-266) is a special step for the navy, because the new corvette will take on a traditional name. As the third ship of the Bundeswehr, it will be called «Emden». The Navy’s previous «Emden» was a Bremen-class frigate that had been decommissioned in 2013. The Navy decided on the name in 2018.
During its quadrennial SubCon submarine conference held in Kiel, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems unveiled the 4th Generation Fuel Cell (FC4G) for submarine applications after having finished an extensive test program with more than 70,000 operating hours in the test environment. This is an improvement of an already unrivalled and proven system.
Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: «Our customers have been using our fuel cell systems for more than 15 years now. With this 4th generation we are making something great even greater. This is the next big step with huge improvements in availability, redundancy, and stealth. I am proud that we are again advancing our customers by setting new standards».
The FC4G is designed to be a high-availability modular system composed of redundant components to retain a maximum performance at all times. In terms of H2-storage, the systems rely on the well-proven and exceptionally safe system of metal hydride cylinders as previous generations. These cylinders do not contain any active components; thus, reducing failure to a minimum holding hydrogen molecules safe in place in the crystal lattice of the hydride. Since hydrogen is fed to the system in its purest form, no chemical conversion is required and, therewith, the efficiency of the overall system remains very high.
In contrast, reformer systems inevitably create CO2 out of a liquid fuel such as diesel oil leaving a trace of CO2 – and potentially other by-products contained in diesel oil such as Sulphur – that must be dissolved into the surrounding sea water by operating electrical pumps. The same applies to AIP systems based on other principles, such as Stirling engines, closed-cycle diesels, or closed-cycle steam turbines. Not so the FC4G system. The only by-product besides electrical energy is pure water, which is stored on board for weight
compensation. H2 is easily available where ever chemical industry is operative, typically in every customer country, or may be produced by utilizing green energy sources by splitting water into H2 and O2.
Overall signatures of the FC4G are the most favorable ones on the market. No byproducts put overboard, the thermal and the acoustic signatures are kept to a minimum while the overall system efficiency is twice as good as any combustion engine.
Philipp Schön, Head of Product Sales Submarines: «These are the reasons, why 38 systems were contracted so far with 7 customer navies, another 10 systems presently being under negotiation».
The Schleswig-Holstein shipyard GERMAN NAVAL YARDS KIEL (GNYK) submitted the final offer for the construction of the multi-purpose warship MKS 180 on 18 July. Together with its cooperation partner ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, the company is competing for the largest naval contract in the history of Bundeswehr. GNYK is the only remaining German general contractor in the European competition of the German Ministry of Defense.
Jörg Herwig, Managing Director of GERMAN NAVAL YARDS KIEL, said: «By submitting our offer, we have done everything in our power to obtain this contract for Germany. Should we win the contract, not only we as a shipyard, but hundreds of small and medium-sized companies throughout Germany will benefit from the project. It is decisive that we as German shipyard receive orders from our own government. This is the only way we can become less dependent on exports».
The construction of MKS 180 could provide a major impetus for German naval shipbuilding. «This is vital for the innovative strength of the entire industry. Furthermore, thousands of jobs could be preserved permanently. With the construction of MKS 180, we as German shipbuilding companies have the opportunity to maintain our technological leadership in international competition», said Herwig.
GERMAN NAVAL YARDS KIEL will develop, design and build MKS 180 in Germany. The initial plan is to build four ships. The decision on the allocation is now incumbent on the Federal Ministry of Defence. A decision is expected at the end of 2019.
GNYK has a first-class infrastructure and the necessary experience to build technologically highly complex naval vessels. The shipyard is also able to repair simultaneously several large ships. An operating shipyard infrastructure on the Baltic Sea is of particular importance in terms of security policy for NATO operations or military exercises.
On May 23, 2019, the world’s most modern corvette was named INS Magen at a ceremony in Kiel. This marks another important milestone in the ongoing program of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as General Contractor to build four next-generation SA’AR-6 class missile corvettes for the Israeli Navy. The ship was named by Mrs. Eti Sharvit, wife of Vice Admiral Eli Sharvit, Chief of the Israeli Navy, in presence of high-level representatives from the Israeli Government and Navy as well as high-ranking German Navy officials.
Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: «We are very proud to be contributing to Israel’s security. The corvettes are the most advanced and most sizeable vessels that ever served in the Israeli Navy. With the final fitting out being conducted by Israeli industry, the ships will also largely contribute to the country’s economy».
The ships have the stealthy design of a low-signature missile corvette with tailor-made solutions and numerous new technologies on board. The contract for the delivery of four SA’AR 6 corvettes was signed in May 2015. After the design phase, the construction phase started with the steel cutting ceremony of the first-of-class in February 2018. Only 15 months after the first steel cut, the ship was undocked, fulfilling its very ambitious
schedule. The INS Magen is planned to be delivered in spring 2020 after completion of construction and testing. The other three ships will follow subsequently in intervals of a few months.
This program proofs once more: The project partners ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards Kiel implement complex ship building programs not only with the highest quality, but also within highly ambitious schedules.
The third of four 209/1400mod class submarines for the Navy of the Arab Republic of Egypt was named and launched on May 3, 2019 at the shipyard of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel. As part of the ceremony, Vice Admiral Ahmed Khaled, Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Navy, officially named the boat «S43». The boat will now be intensively tested.
Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems: «This significant milestone in the construction program for the Egyptian Navy is based on an open and trusting dialogue with our customer as well as the competence of our employees and suppliers. These are key factors on our successful way to become Europe’s most modern naval company».
The contract for the delivery of the first two 209/1400mod class submarines to the Arab Republic of Egypt was signed in 2011. In 2015, Egypt decided to take the option for two additional units of the most recent version of the class 209 «family»: A compact submarine featuring reliability, high combat strength, long submerged range, high submerged speeds, low signatures and excellent handling characteristics.
The first submarine, named «S41», was handed over in December 2016 and the second submarine, named «S42», in August 2017. The program is planned to end with the handover of the fourth ship in 2021.
The Águas Azuis Consortium, formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, Embraer Defense & Security and Atech, was selected by the Brazilian Navy for the construction of four defense ships in the Tamandaré Corvettes Class Program (CCT) as preferred bidder. The result was announced on March 28, 2019 and represents a new milestone for the country’s maritime defense and naval industry.
With ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems’ leadership and its naval systems expertise, the Águas Azuis Consortium companies will now form a Specific Purpose Company (SPC) for the implementation phase of the program. Based on a long-term relationship and strong presence in Brazil, companies and their subsidiaries have built a solid national partnership with proven capability to retain technology and ensure its development not only for the CCT Program, but also for future strategic defense projects in the country.
«We are very honored by the Brazilian Navy to entrust us with the mission to build the Tamandaré Corvettes Class. Being part of the CCT Program reinforces our leadership position and the proven technologies we have offered to the naval defense industry around the world for almost two centuries», said Doctor Rolf Wirtz, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. «This partnership will bring high-skilled jobs and technology to Brazil, strengthening its defense industry», Wirtz adds.
«In this consortium with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems we offer a solid national partnership model with proven capability to retain the transfer of technology, ensuring its development for future strategic defense projects in Brazil. We have always been confident and the today’s result demonstrates that our proposal has truly addressed the operational needs of the Brazilian Navy», said Jackson Schneider, President and CEO of Embraer Defense & Security.
With the CCT Program, the Brazilian Navy will expand and modernize its fleet. With four corvettes scheduled for delivery between 2024 and 2028, the Navy will now have new Escort Ships to counter possible threats, ensure the protection of maritime traffic, and control the Brazilian jurisdictional waters, the so-called Blue Amazon, which totals over 4.5 million km². The escort ships will also play an important role in peace and humanitarian aid missions, in contribution to the Brazilian Diplomacy.
The CCT Program will bring real contributions to the Brazilian economy:
Local content of more than 40% during ships building and the development of state-of-the-art systems;
Generation of more than 1,000 direct jobs and approximately 4,000 indirect jobs;
Competitiveness to meet the future demands of the Brazilian Navy and export of naval defense products;
Inclusion of research and development centers;
In-service support capability to a high-tech and long-life product.
The program contemplates a solid Transfer of Technology (ToT) in the naval engineering for military shipbuilding, combat and platform management systems.
One of the most modern shipyards in Brazil, Aliança-Oceana will act as the ship builder of the Águas Azuis Consortium, as well as ToT receiver of military shipbuilding. Located in Itajaí (Santa Catarina State), a region with a strong vocation for shipbuilding, the shipyard is part of Oceana Offshore Group, a company with more than 20 years’ experience in shipbuilding and offshore maritime operations. With approximately 310,000 square meters, Oceana has the capacity to build 4 to 6 ships per year, and applies the most innovative engineering and construction processes, with high level of automation and cutting-edge technology. It also has facilities located in Niterói (Rio de Janeiro State), which can serve as logistics and services support base for the Brazilian Navy.
Atech, an Embraer Group company, will be the supplier of CMS (Combat Management System) and IPMS (Integrated Platform Management System) of the Tamandaré Class corvettes and receiver of ToT in cooperation with ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, a subsidiary of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, and L3 MAPPS. Located in Rio de Janeiro (RJ) and São Paulo (SP), Atech has 500 engineers specializing in software and hardware development for defense applications and has unique expertise in systems engineering and situational awareness technologies of decision-making.
Embraer Defense & Security will integrate sensors and weaponry into the combat system, bringing the program to its 50 years’ experience in in-service support solutions.
The MEKO Class – authentic ship for blue waters
The Águas Azuis Consortium presented to the Brazilian Navy a proposal based on the concept of the MEKO Class, a world reference through proven solutions in shipbuilding. Its modular design facilitates local integration and transfer of technology, helping to reduce acquisition, maintenance and modernization costs. Combining state-of-the-art technology, innovation and robust combat capabilities, the MEKO Class is a true-blue water vessel. These vessels have exceptional qualities of autonomy and robustness. As a result, several Navies from all over the world have a flexible, versatile combat platform and a general naval environment for diversified mission profiles.
Since 1982, 82 MEKO Class corvettes and frigates have been delivered to Marines from 14 different nations, 37 of which were produced outside Germany and all still in full operation – offering a life cycle of more than 40 years. This class combines the benefits of five generations of ships thanks to its design iteration, whereby the best design characteristics of each vessel evolve into the next, ensuring that the new generations have solid, proven maturity, technology, materials and standards.
The third 125 class frigate, the F224 «Sachsen-Anhalt», has taken to the sea for the first time. On February 22, 2018 the ship left the shipyard in Hamburg for scheduled in-port trials. The ship’s technical systems and equipment, including its propulsion system, maneuvering behavior and technical operations, will be tested over a period of around two weeks. The trials will take the ship from Hamburg via the river Elbe to the North Sea before returning to Hamburg after completing the test program. In addition to technical specialists from the German defense procurement agency BAAINBw, the testing team from the ARGE F125 consortium and employees of other companies involved, members of the future naval crew are also on board. Following the F222 «Baden-Württemberg» and the F223 «Nordrhein-Westfalen», the F224 «Sachsen-Anhalt» is now the third of the F125 class frigates to take to the open seas.
The completely redesigned F125 class ships have an extremely high degree of automation with approximately 28,000 electric devices, permitting a significantly smaller crew size compared with previous frigate classes. At the same time, they are capable of remaining in their area of operation for up to two years. The newly developed ships are thus the first to implement the so-called intensive use principle. In addition to the high level of automation, this is also made possible by a multiple-crew strategy that enables the entire crew to be swapped out during deployment. With sanitary facilities (including shower) in each cabin, a small gym and even internet connections, the ships meet the demands of modern crew members.
The ARGE F125 consortium comprises ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company and Fr. Lürssen Werft in Bremen. The pre-fitted bow sections were manufactured at the Fr. Lürssen Werft shipyards in Bremen and Wolgast. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two sections and further fitting out is being carried out at Blohm+Voss Shipyards in Hamburg under the direction of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
149 m/489 feet
18.8 m/61.7 feet
5.0 m/16.4 feet
26 knots/30 mph/48 km/h
4,000 NM/4,603 miles/7,408 km at a speed of 18 knots/21 mph/33 km/h