Damen and Thales to Build the German MKS 180 Frigate of the Future
(Source: Thales; issued Nov. 18, 2020)
Thales has been awarded a €1.5 billion contract to provide the mission and combat system for the German Navy’s four MKS180 frigates, which represents about a third of the value of the €4.6 billion contract awarded to Damen Shipbuilding to supply the complete ships. (Thales image)
HENGELO, Netherlands --- Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales signed on November 17, 2020, the contract for the delivery and full integration of Thales’s Mission and Combat System for the four MKS 180 class frigates contracted by the German Navy. The system will be designed by Damen and completely built by German shipyards, under Damen’s project management.

Valued at €1.5 billion, the contract illustrates Thales’s leading position in naval global integration. It will be executed by Thales’s naval Centers of Excellence in Hengelo (the Netherlands), Kiel and Wilhelmshaven (Germany) in cooperation with a substantial number of German subcontractors.

Underpinning this contract is the proven cooperation of German and Dutch naval industries, including numerous joint opportunities for Damen and Thales in the Netherlands to innovate within naval shipbuilding projects, often with the participation of the Netherlands’ Ministry of Defence. The project underscores Damen’s and Thales’s ambition to build further cooperation with shipyards and partnering industries in high-end European naval programmes.

Thales’s Mission and Combat System includes the comprehensive Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS (Above Water Warfare System) Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites, as well as the option for one or two additional ships.

AWWS is a cutting-edge warfare suite that helps the ship crews to counter and neutralise complex saturation attacks by continuously analysing and optimising the tactical environment and deployment of resources. AWWS will be combined with Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) Bl2, the evolved version of Thales’s proven Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) multifunction radar. In 2019, Thales signed an AWWS development contract for the new M-frigates for the Belgian and Dutch Navies.




In the past years, Thales has been awarded several large contracts by European NATO navies, thanks to innovative solutions and its proven reliability as an industrial partner. These contracts have made Thales the de facto naval combat system partner of NATO.

The first ship of the MKS 180 class will be operational in 2028. The entire programme will run for over ten years.

“Winning such a substantial contract within the strict framework of an objective scoring system reinforces our global leading position in high-end naval integration. Thanks to our innovative capabilities, the German Navy will be able to execute both current and future tasks whilst substantially contributing to stability in the operational theatres all over the world,” said Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands.

“As a partner in the MKS 180 programme, Thales Deutschland not only contributes to a high German value-added share, but also brings many years of experience in European cooperation and proven systems expertise. This programme will create new, high-quality jobs in Germany, within an exemplary framework of European defence cooperation. We will also contribute to maintaining the German Navy's operational capability at the highest level within the alliance,” said Dr. Christoph Hoppe, CEO of Thales Deutschland.

“We are very honoured by this notification which further solidifies our long-standing cooperation with the German Navy and Damen. We sincerely thank our customers for their continued trust. This huge contract anchors our position as global leader in high-end naval systems integration. The German Navy will benefit from cutting-edge technological systems thanks to the diversity of talents at Thales,” said Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales.


Thales is a global high technology leader investing in digital and “deep tech” innovations –connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and quantum technology. The company provides solutions, services and products that help its customers –businesses, organisations and states – in the defence, aeronautics, space, transportation and digital identity and security markets to fulfil their critical missions. With 83,000 employees in 68 countries, Thales generated sales of €19 billion in 2019 (on a basis including Gemalto over 12 months).

In the Netherlands, Thales employs about 2.200 staff members in Hengelo, Enschede, Huizen, Delft, The Hague and Eindhoven. They are contributing to the development, production and integration of complex systems for defence, transport and security. such as Command & Control, public transport chipcard, communication systems and cyber security.

Thales Deutschland is one of the largest national subsidiaries of the Thales group and employs 3,800 persons at 11 locations and carries out its own manufacturing and development. In 2019, Thales Deutschland generated sales of EUR 1.2 billion, predominantly German value added.

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Damen Awards Thales Contract for the Missions and Combat System for the German Navy’s MKS180 Frigates
(Source: Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding; issued Nov. 18, 2020)
Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) and Thales have signed a contract for the delivery and integration of the mission and combat system for the German Navy’s new MKS 180 class frigates.

Thales’ Mission and Combat System includes the Tacticos Combat Management System and the AWWS Fire Control Cluster. The contract includes four ship systems, logistic services and multiple land-based test and training sites.

Earlier this year, DSNS and the German Bundesamt fur Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the contract for the design and construction of four MKS-180 frigates for the German Navy. DSNS had previously prevailed with its offer in a multi-year European tender. This complex project involves the construction of four frigates (plus a land-based test facility), with an option to build two more.

DSNS managing director Hein van Ameijden said, “Behind this achievement lie more than five decades of DSNS’ experience developing and building eight generations of naval combatant vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) and other navies around the world, with the involvement of the entire Dutch maritime sector as well as the innovative input provided by numerous Dutch research institutes. The RNLN has been a launching customer and innovator for various novel technologies, including the advanced sensor and radar suites developed by Thales Nederland.”

DSNS and Thales will take their joint technological know-how to an even higher level during the design and construction of the MKS180 frigates for the German Navy. Together with Blohm+Voss as building partner in Germany, DSNS aims to handle the project in such a way that around 80% of the total investment remains in Germany as local added value. The ships will be built at yards in Hamburg, Kiel and Wolgast.

The scope of the contract with Thales also highlights the German value creation and know-how development: about 70% of the services are performed by the Thales Germany organisation, with locations in Kiel and Wilhelmshaven, in cooperation with a substantial number of subcontractors in Germany, alongside Thales’ naval centre of excellence in The Netherlands.

This bi-national project, a perfect example of defence industry collaboration, could spark further future bi-national or multi-national cooperation in EU context. Meanwhile Damen, Thales and Blohm+Voss continue, together with customer and new partners, to realise a high-quality frigate that meets all the requirements of the German Navy and sets a European standard for future-proof naval capabilities.

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