German F127 frigate programme moves to next phase, while Dutch say still open to joint procurement
A spokesperson from the German BAAINBw defence procurement organisation has told Shephard that the ‘Capability Gap and Functional Requirement’ (FFF) phase document was approved on 23 February, which allowed the NGFrig-AD F127 project to transfer to a second stage of analysis.
The second phase is 'Part 2 of the armament procedure "Customer Product Management" (CPM), with the aim of producing one or, if necessary, several proposed solutions (LV) by III/2024,' the spokesperson said, adding that the project schedule is determined by the need to preserve air defence capabilities for the German Navy, currently provided by Sachsen-class (F124) frigates.
The F127 will not just replace the capability to provide long-range air defence and air defence of convoys but also add sea-based defence against hypersonic and ballistic missiles in the lower intercept layer. It is a key part of plans for the German Navy's future force structure.
'The generic requirement criteria for shipbuilding are specified using the example of the design approach of a MEKO A400 from TKMS. As a result, documents suitable for tendering are to be prepared,' the spokesperson said.
A representative of TKMS told Shephard: 'To ensure the timely and smooth replacement of the F124 class air defence frigates, we want to offer the navy the only proven design based on the MEKO A400 that is available on the market in this key German technology.'
They added: 'With our new production site in Wismar, we have already set the course for long-term adherence to schedules and budgets and are taking the opportunity to secure numerous jobs at the shipbuilding location in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.'
Dutch interest remains
It is unclear if Germany and the Netherlands will continue with their plans to jointly replace their F124 and De Zeven Provincien-class (LCF) frigates respectively under the NGFrig-AD programme following a letter of intent (LoI) signed in 2020. The navies could go their separate ways if requirements differ considerably.
However, a spokesperson from Dutch yard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) told Shephard that the company was 'very much engaged' in the joint replacement of both countries’ frigates.
Damen built the LCF frigates, and is supplying four new Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigates (ASWF) for the Royal Netherlands Navy and Belgian Navy; it is also the prime contractor on the Germany's F126 frigate programme.
The DSNS spokesperson emphasised the company’s role cooperating with German industry to deliver the F126 project, and said it will be able to provide an F127 solution that meets both German and Dutch requirements.
An A-Letter from the Dutch government for its LCF replacement, which initiates a programme and early studies, has not yet been announced, but this is expected by the end of the year.
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