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Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales have signed a contract for the delivery and full integration of Thales’s Mission and Combat System on the four MKS 180 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 €1.5Bn, the contract illustrates Thales’s leading position in global naval 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 the 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 Systems

Thales’s Mission and Combat System includes the comprehensive TACTICOS Combat Management System (CMS) 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 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 the Bl2 Active Phased Array Radar, the evolved version of Thales’s proven Active Electronically Scanned Array multifunction radar. In 2019, Thales signed an AWWS development contract for the new M class frigates for the Belgian and Dutch Navies.

In recent years, Thales has been awarded several large contracts by European NATO navies, thanks to innovative solutions and its proven reliability as an industrial partner, making Thales the de facto naval combat system partner of NATO. The first ship of the MKS 180 class will be operational in 2028 with the entire programme scheduled to run for over ten years.

Jack Richardson