Project Start: New Tankers for the Fleet
(Source: German Navy; issued July 26, 2019)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
The German Navy has decided to procure two new large fleet oilers to replace the two Rhön-class ships, including the ‘Spessart’ pictured here, that are now in service. (GE Navy photo)
ROSTOCK, Germany --- On 17 July, the Bundeswehr Inspector General selected new fleet oilers for the Navy. They will be significantly more efficient than the previous ones.

The Inspector General has now opted for a supply ship with improved operational-logistical capabilities than the current tankers of the Rhone class. These two Type 704 ships were built in the 1970s and have a cargo capacity of around 11,500 cubic meters. The new fleet tankers, on the other hand, will be able to deliver over 15,000 cubic meters of fuel.

In addition to the larger loading capacity, the proposed future tanker offers further advantages including, for example, a higher speed to better keep up with the frigates it will accompany. The new tankers should be capable of speeds over 20 knots compared to the 16 knots of the "Rhön" and the "Spessart". The two double-hull tankers of the future Type 707 will remain in service with the fleet beyond the 2050s.

More skills at the same depth

Of course, these and other features, such as the larger payload, make the new ships bigger: they will be around 170 meters long, with a predicted displacement of over 20,000 tonnes. However, they remain at the same draft as their predecessors: 8 meters. This allows their mooring in the naval base Wilhelmshaven, without which the port would have had to be dredged for larger ships.

The future tankers will ensure that Germany can meet specific obligations to NATO in naval logistics: the provision of a total of five "Logistics Ships Small" from 2024 - namely the three Einsatzgruppe providers and the two fleet tankers of the German Navy.

From January 2019, the Federal Office for Equipment and IT of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) will set up a project group that will organize the procurement process in the coming years. The key parameters that the German Navy will require during the bid process for industry is already known.

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