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German Navy christens new survey vessel ‘Kalkgrund’

New German Navy trial boat SVK for WTD 71
Photo: Fassmer

The German defense ministry’s Technical Center for Ships and Naval Weapons, Maritime Technology and Research (WTD 71) has christened the survey vessel “Kalkgrund,” adding to its fleet of nine seafaring vehicles.

In a new milestone for maritime research and development, the christening of the first of two 51.70-meter-long survey vessels commissioned by Fassmer for the WTD 71 took place at the shipyard pier in Berne/Motzen, following their order on July 22, 2021.

Kalkgrund, a new experimentation and test support ship, derives its name from a shoal in the Flensburg Fjord, which is marked by a lighthouse with the same name, serving as “a warning to maritime traffic”.

The new vessels will replace the Classe 745 ships Breitgrund and Mittelgrund, which have over 33 years of service behind them, as well as the Class 741 weapons trials boat Wilhelm Pullwer, which has spent 55 years in service.

“Fassmer’s concept for the multipurpose vessel allows for easy adaptation of equipment and facilities, enabling the ship’s deployment to be adjusted for different tasks, ensuring a targeted configuration of its capabilities,” stated the official announcement.

The new survey vessel, stationed in Eckernförde, will be involved in various tasks, including securing and recovering torpedoes during testing, providing support for submarines during shallow water trials, deploying autonomous underwater vehicles, conducting diving operations for defense-related investigations of diving equipment and facilities, and participating in research projects in coastal areas.

Kalkgrund has an overall length of 51.7 meters, a beam on frames measuring 10.2 meters, and a construction draft of 3.65 meters. Its maximum speed reaches 13 knots, even at sea state 4.

The vessel is powered by two 1580 kW Wärtsilä engines, utilizing a diesel-electric drive system for efficient performance. Noteworthy features of the ship include its DP2 capability, a spacious open area on the work deck, a moon pool, an offshore crane, and a stern gantry. Kalkgrund maximum capacity is up to 23 persons.