COLOGNE, Germany ― The German Navy is set to get five new Braunschweig-class corvettes from a consortium of domestic shipyards in a deal set to exceed $2 billion, the Defence Ministry announced this week.
The contract with German companies Lürssen Defence of Bremen ― which leads the industry group ― ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems of Hamburg and German Naval Yards of Kiel, caps a complicated procurement process that saw the latter protest its initial exclusion from the order earlier this year.
The German parliament, the Bundestag, approved funds for the five new ships in June, following commissioning of the initial five copies of the Braunschweig class between 2008 and 2013. After German Naval Yards’ protest, the government’s antitrust lawyers in July cleared the path for all three companies to be included in the consortium, dubbed Arge K130.
The new ships are set to be delivered to the German Navy by 2025, officials said, adding that the boats are “urgently needed” to fulfill Berlin’s NATO obligations.
“We are procuring proven boats with improved technology,” said Armin Schmidt-Franke, vice president of the Bundeswehr’s acquisition agency.
Planned modifications include crew-evacuation features in accordance with the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, and improved security of the vessels’ information technology and network infrastructure, according to an agency statement.
The corvettes’ weapons include a 76mm main gun, surface-to-air and anti-ship missiles, and mines. An industry competition for a surveillance drone to be placed on the boats is ongoing.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen was criticized by lawmakers from the opposition earlier this year for pursuing the additional ships despite criticism from the Bundesrechnungshof, an agency comparable to the U.S. Government Accountability Office. Officials there believed that the envisioned deal would be needlessly costly and include unfavorable conditions for the government.
A spokesman argued that those concerns turned out to be based on a misinterpretation of data. While there is a cost increase in the program, the scope is considered acceptable, the official told Defense News.
Sebastian Sprenger is associate editor for Europe at Defense News, reporting on the state of the defense market in the region, and on U.S.-Europe cooperation and multi-national investments in defense and global security. Previously he served as managing editor for Defense News. He is based in Cologne, Germany.