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In the early ship design phase of the frigate F126 (formerly multi-purpose combat ship MKS 180), the Hamburg Ship Model Basin (Hamburgische Schiffbau-Versuchsanstalt, HSVA) is providing support with extensive model test series. This is primarily for the hydrodynamic optimisation of the ship. The general contractor for the F126, Damen Shipyards Group, has opened up access to German know-how with a service contract.

As part of this process, the properties of the planned ship are tested under real conditions. Thus, a scale model of the F126 with a length of several metres will be on display for the first time. Over the next few months, the model ship will be subjected to a variety of tests at various HSVA test facilities in Hamburg.

In addition to tests to evaluate the ship’s drag, propulsion and manoeuvring in smooth water, the ship’s sea behaviour will also be looked at and special attention will be paid to a high-quality propeller design. Only through these extensive test series can it be ensured that the high demands placed on the frigates in real-life operations will be met.

The upcoming tests are the most important milestone so far and an indicator of the success of the ship’s development so far, Damen wrote in a press release. Following the test and simulation phase, further development work will be carried out and hundreds of subsystems will be integrated.

Damen will build a total of four F126 frigates for the German Navy together with partners Blohm+Voss and Thales after the company was awarded the contract in 2020 as part of a multi-year European tender. The first ship is to be handed over to the German Navy in Hamburg in 2028. The ships will be designed in Germany, with construction taking place in Hamburg, Kiel and Wolgast.

Gerhard Heiming