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The news spread like wildfire late Monday night: The order for the Multipurpose Combat Ship (MKS) 180 goes to the Damen Group (based in Gorinchem, Netherlands). The remaining German competitor in the international bidding process, German Naval Yards Kiel, which had entered with thyssenkrupp Marine Systems as subcontractor, is left behind.

The information is based on a report provided by Parliamentary State Secretary Peter Tauber to the German Bundestag, which has been made available to dpa. Amplifying the decision, the text also states that the decision made by the awarding authority is conditional – with regard to a possible reprimand or a review procedure. It is now the (challenging) intention of the MoD to make the parliamentary approval possible in spring – in Germany known as a €25 million submission.

In an interview with European Security and Defence, issue 4/2019, Richard Keulen of Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding described the intended procedure as follows: “With Blohm&Voss, owned by Lürssen, we have a strong partner who has many suppliers in Germany, which allows us to realise this programme as a German programme. Our participation is actually quite limited. Not only is the entire construction carried out on the premises of Blohm&Voss, we also involve our German partners in the engineering, procurement, etc. We will carry out this project together and in genuine cooperation. That is very important! The project is as German as possible, as we fully understand that the extensive funds that Germany provides for the realisation of this project for the German Navy should also strengthen the German naval cluster. And that is convenient for us because that is how we operate.”

The two remaining bidders in the tendering procedure for MKS 180 were invited to submit a “Best and Final Offer” on April 12, 2019, with a deadline of July 18, 2019 (2 p.m.). The project – for four multi-purpose combat ships 180 are included in the federal budget for a total of €5.270 billion – is one of the Bundeswehr’s largest procurement projects.

Hans Uwe Mergener