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Fr. Lürssen Werft Assesses Latin American Market

Fr. Lürssen Werft Touts New-Generation Corvettes, Frigates

As many navies set their sights on more flexible next-generation frigates and corvettes that will be able to operate in an increasingly complex maritime battlespace, German shipbuilder Fr. Lürssen Werft believes it has the answer for any demand. Germany’s most traditional shipbuilder, which was founded in 1875 in Bremen and has built and delivered 585 naval vessels during the past six decades, introduced a variety of platform solutions aimed at coping with increasingly diverse mission requirements. The range of tasks are about to further expand. And in times of shrinking budgets, flexibility is key and Lürssen comes up with the most innovative solutions.

Remember K130? Lürssen has been a member of the Arge K130 consortium in the 2000s which built five advanced corvettes of the “Braunschweig” class for the German Navy. When the German Ministry of Defence announced in October that the Navy will receive five additional K130 corvettes, the naval community set its sight on Lürssen – and its supremacy in naval ship design and construction. The shipyard could be a viable compromise due to the fact that the German Navy since decades embarks on Lürssen’s shipbuilding experience, with the Navy noting that corvette-sized combatants will continue to represent a major asset for the next decades, mainly for security operations in the Baltic Sea. Their impact on capacity and capability – thanks to Lürssen’s most innovative design and construction procedures – will be significant.

Lürssen itself acknowledges that the next five to 10 years are bound to see considerable changes in the design of corvettes and frigates, with the national and international customer requiring highly modular, multi-role platforms, as widely heard at this year’s Exponaval naval and maritime exhibition in Chile. Still a family-owned shipbuilder, Lürssen is addressing a number of new-construction programmes worldwide that might well open up some options for innovative corvette and frigate designs. In addition to this, Lürssen regards its portfolio of fast patrol boats and Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs) as a success, noting that there are plenty of demands for that type of naval platforms in South America, Australia, and Africa. Talking to Mönch in Viña del Mar, Lürssen confirmed that their assessment of the Latin American market has shown that most of the countries in the region do have requirements for new-build OPVs. Lürssen also informed that there is a “special” focus on its OPV80 and OPV90 designs, as well as oceanic patrol vessel designs.

Last September, Lürssen took over Blohm+Voss (B+V), another traditional German shipbuilder with a range of products ranging from small patrol boats to large, complex guided-missile frigates. Before that, Lürssen and B+V were approved partners in the design and construction of the 149m long, 7,200 tonnes (full displacement) Type F125 frigates, the largest frigate design in service with the German Navy. The first-of-class, FGS “Baden-Württemberg”, was delivered to the Navy last July. Delivery of the remaining three units will now continue under Lürssen’s lead. Lürssen’s move to next-generation frigate designs could continue with its bidding for Germany’s next large new-construction project – the MKS 180 Multirole Combat Ship, described as a multi-purpose frigate with a full displacement varying 8,000-9,000 tons. The design calls for a strong sea control and littoral/land force projection capability.

Even when the presence of Lürssen at Exponaval 2016 seem to have focused on patrol boats, it is not. They are, of course, on the wish list of a number of Navies across Latin American, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. With the aim to establish partnerships with local shipyards in these regions, Lürssen expects that it will be able to fulfil these new demands, and to contribute to the scheme of local content.

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