mks 180 frigate

German Naval Yards Kiel Challenges Germany’s Massive MKS 180 Contract Award

Mike Schuler
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January 29, 2020

An illustration of the MKS 180 frigate for the German Navy. Image: BAAINBw / MTG Marinetechnik

German Naval Yards Kiel is formally challenging the German government’s decision to award Netherlands-based Damen with the contract to construct the German Navy’s next-generation warships.

The German government announced its intention to award the highly sought after MKS 180 frigates contract to Damen following a years-long competitive tender process that invited final bids from consortiums led by German Naval Yards Kiel and Damen.

To fulfill the contract, which is still subject to German parliamentary approval, Damen will work with German shipbuilding partners Blohm + Voss and Thales. Under the current terms, at least four of the multi-purpose ships will be built at Blohm + Voss shipyard in Hamburg and at other shipyard locations belonging to the north German shipyard group Lürssen, which acquired the Hamburg shipyard in 2016.

German Naval Yards Kiel has now submitted a formal complaint alleging that they were unlawfully excluded from the procurement decision.

“GERMAN NAVAL YARDS is to be excluded because the company is said to have failed to meet less than 0.15 percent of the requirements,” commented Dr. Roland M. Stein, a lawyer for GNYK. “We have thoroughly examined the alleged reasons – none justify an exclusion from the proceedings.”

Stern is also demanding that the exclusion of Damen over “considerable and well-founded doubts as to whether Damen’s bid was in line with key aspects of the tender.”

The MKS 180 frigates are touted as an “all-rounder” multi-purpose combat ship with interchangeable mission-specific modules to cover a wide-range of naval missions. With over 5.2 billion euros earmarked for the ships, the MKS 180 project ranks as one of largest naval contracts in the history of the German armed forces.

The 155-meter ships will displace up to 9,000 tonnes, with berth for 110 permanent crew and up to 70 additional passengers, which will make them largest warships in the German Navy fleet. 

Delivery of the vessel is expected in 2023.

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