German Ministry of Defence approves expansion of F126 frigate programme

By Defence Industry Europe

The German Ministry of Defence has announced significant advancements in the F126 frigate program, marking a major enhancement for the German Navy. The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has given preliminary approval for the procurement of two additional F126 multi-purpose combat ships, reinforcing Germany’s maritime defence capabilities.

 

On 12 June, the Budget Committee approved a contract amendment for the ongoing procurement of the four F126 frigates. This amendment addresses a budget increase of approximately EUR 323 million due to global inflation driven by the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. The additional funds will be sourced from the Bundeswehr Special Fund from 2024 to 2027 and from the defence budget starting in 2028.

The Bundestag has also given a provisional green light for the purchase of two more F126 units, with a total budget of around EUR 3.18 billion allocated from the defence budget. This expansion will bring the total number of F126 frigates to six.

German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius emphasized the strategic importance of the F126 frigates during the keel-laying ceremony on 3 June in Wolgast. “With a fleet of six F126 frigates, we will enhance our operational readiness and sustainability,” Pistorius stated.

 

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The F126 frigates are crucial for national and alliance defence, embodying Germany’s commitment to a rules-based international order and bolstering the nation’s economic and defence sectors.

Approximately 70% of the project’s value will be generated within Germany, involving over 65 German contractors in the construction process. The fifth and sixth ships are scheduled for delivery in 2033 and 2034, respectively.

The F126 frigates, measuring 166 meters in length and accommodating up to 198 personnel, are designed for comprehensive naval warfare. These ships are equipped to engage targets underwater, on the surface, and in the air. Key missions include maritime surveillance, embargo enforcement, special forces support, and evacuation operations. The versatile combat ships can be outfitted with special mission modules, allowing them to adapt to various operational scenarios.

 

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