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Leonardo to supply OTO 127/64 LW Vulcano guns for Germany’s new F126 frigates

OTO 127/64 LW Vulcano weapon system
Photo: Leonardo

Dutch shipbuilder Damen has awarded Italian defense company Leonardo a contract for the delivery of its OTO 127/64 LightWeight (LW) Vulcano naval guns for the German Navy’s four new F126 frigates.

The contract also includes optional deliveries for two additional vessels, as well as the supply of support for maintenance activities, simulators for crew training and on-board activities for the integration and commissioning of the system.

The OTO 127/64 LW Vulcano naval gun is a digitalized system capable of providing constant support to operators for the calculation of shooting solutions during mission planning.

127/64 LW can employ equally the standard ammunition 127mm and both variants of the company’s Vulcano 127mm ammunition: Guided Long Range (GLR) and Ballistic Extended Range (BER). Leonardo says the gun extends a naval unit’s defensive capability up to 85 km while maintaining precision accuracy.

The same gun systems has also been selected Canada for its Canadian Surface Combatant program, and the Netherlands, for the De Zeven Provinciën-class air defense frigates.

The new agreement builds upon a strategic partnership between Leonardo – which has different activities in the Germany including Leonardo Germany GmbH subsidiary, with a production facility in Neuss– and the German Navy. Baden-Württemberg class frigates are also equipped with the 127/64 LW Vulcano weapon system.

Hein van Ameijden, Managing Director Damen Naval says: “The F126 project is going forward with full speed and in trustworthy cooperation with the German authorities. Leonardo is the perfect partner for our mission to deliver at least four state-of-the-art frigates for the German Navy. F126 will set new standards regarding modularity and capabilities and Leonardo’s naval defense system is an important contribution.”

Leonardo revealed the contract after Damen ordered Mk41 vertical launching systems (VLS) for the F126 frigates from Lockheed Martin earlier this year.

F126 or MKS 180 German frigate
Photo: Damen

Damen Naval is building the four F126 class frigates together with its partners Blohm+Voss and Thales. Damen Naval was selected as successful bidder in 2020 following a European tender process spanning several years. The contract covers the delivery of initially four ships in the years 2028 to 2031 with an agreed option for a possible delivery of two more ships in the years after 2032. All building work will be carried out entirely in Germany at shipyards in Kiel, Hamburg and Wolgast.

The F126 is designed as a modular ship, meaning it will be capable of executing anti-submarine, anti-air and surface warfare missions. The German Navy wants the ships to have all potential mission modules onboard and to be capable of exchanging them on a “flexdeck” without having to go into port.

The ships will measure around 155 meters in length and have a core crew of 110 while an additional 70 crew would be in charge of the mission modules.