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German Navy orders new generation of experimentation and test support ships

German instrumentation and test support ship
Photo: German Navy

The German defense procurement agency (BAAINBw) signed a contract with shipbuilder Fassmer on July 22 for the design and construction of new experimentation and test support ships for the German Navy.

The ships will be operated by the German Navy’s maritime technology research arm Wehrtechnische Dienststelle (WTD) 71.

Once built and in service, they will support the recovery of torpedoes during trials, escort submarines during shallow water trials, and support the deployment of autonomous underwater vehicles as part of evaluations and research.

Fassmer, which built a class of offshore patrol vessels for the German Coast Guard and currently has a contract for the design of a new patrol vessel for the Ecuadorian Navy, is scheduled to deliver the new boats for WTD 71 by 2023.

As a testing center for ships, naval weapons and maritime technology, WTD 71 has a total of nine sea-going vessels with special capabilities for the performance of its tasks. The new vessels will replace the Stollergrund-class (Klasse 745) ships Breitgrund and Mittelgrund multipurpose boats, which have 32 years of service behind them, as well as the Class 741 interdiction test boat Wilhelm Pullwer, which has spent 55 years in service.

“WTD 71 is looking forward to the new ships with their modern and contemporary equipment, which will be delivered in 2023, and subsequently play a prominent role in defense-related investigations and tests in the Eckenförder Bay for the next 30 years,” said the responsible project manager Thomas Wallner from WTD 71.

The two new ships will be known as Messboote Seeversuche Küste (which roughly translates to sea and shore trial instrumentation ships) are identical boats, designed according to civilian standards and modified for the special requirements of defense tests.