The German Ministry of Defense has taken the unprecedented step of excluding a consortium led by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, part of the ThyssenKrupp industrial conglomerate, from the bidding process on Germany's next-generation of battleships.
A report by Handelsblatt Global reveals that "the decision was disclosed in a notice sent to the firm’s shipyards by the ministry’s purchasing agency. The letter said the government did not trust ThyssenKrupp and its partner, Lürrsen shipyards, to build the new Multi-role Combat Ship 180 (MKS 180), which is designed to operate anywhere in the world, including in polar seas. The agency also said the consortium’s proposed price of €4 billion ($4.9 billion) for four warships was too high."
According to the report, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems has been forced to pay multiple fines for cost overruns and late deliveries on other contracts in recent months and has been involved in a major bribery investigation in Israel.
Given the recent developments, the construction of the MKS 180s is likely to go to one of two foreign-owned consortia: Damen Shipyards in Holland or German Naval Yards, owned by Iskander Safa, a French-Lebanese businessman, the report adds.
"The procurement agency’s decision follows an embarrassing comedy of errors involving another new warship being built in ThyssenKrupp’s Kiel shipyards, the F125 frigate. The first version of the ship, called the FGS Baden-Württemberg, was returned by the German navy for repairs to defects after it failed its seagoing trials. The ship had been under construction for six years.
"According to the newspaper Kieler Nachrichten, the Baden-Württenberg’s central computer system, which was meant to allow the ship to be manned by only half the crew of similar-sized vessels, had failed to function properly. There were also problems with its radar and the ship initially listed to starboard."