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German Navy wants to buy new K130 corvettes instead of repairing existing ones

German Navy K130 corvette firing RBS-15 anti-ship missile
German defense ministry file photo of a K130 corvette

The German Navy has proposed an interesting plan to the German federal parliament that would see the service replace its five K130 corvettes with new ships instead of investing in costly mid-life overhauls from 2025.

This would mean that the existing Braunschweig-class corvettes would have less than 20 years of service at the time when they potentially start retiring after 2025.

The first five ships were commissioned between 2008 and 2013, while a shipbuilding consortium composed of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, German Naval Yards Kiel and Lürssen Werft is already working on the delivery of another five ships in the class by 2025.

According to German daily Handelsblatt, which first reported the plan, the Bundestag is likely to approve the deal that would cost between 2.5 and 3 billion euros. The 2017 deal for the second batch of K130 corvettes is worth 2.4 billion euros.

As noted in the report, the navy says that buying new ships would be cheaper and more effective than an extensive overhaul program. Another factor that could tip the decision in favor of the plan is the fact that an overhaul would not extend the ships’ 30-year service life. This means that the defense ministry would have to look for new ships in 2038 in order to fulfill the Bundestag stipulation of always having ten corvettes ready for operational tasking.

Should the plan be approved, the corvettes that entered service between 2008 and 2013 would be offered for sale to a NATO partner.

The K130 corvettes are 90-meter ships equipped with two 27 mm Mauser MLG27 remote-controlled, fully-automatic cannons, and one OTO Melara 76 mm gun. The second batch of ships will have improved combat systems, new masts and an additional RHIB. They also carry the RBS-15 (Robotsystem 15) anti-ship missile that can also engage land targets.