The future seventh corvette of the Navy was given a traditional name on May 4th in Hamburg.
The godmother of the new ship is Annette Lehnigk-Emden, who has been President of the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forces since April 27. For her, the christening was special in two respects: On the one hand, the ceremony in the Blohm+Voss shipyard was her first ship christening as the new head of office. On the other hand, their family history connects them with the traditional ship name.
Three cruisers of the Imperial Navy and the Reich Navy as well as two frigates of the Federal Republic of Germany Navy had already been named after the city of Emden in East Friesland. Ten years after the last “Emden”, a Bremen-class frigate, was decommissioned, a German warship is now the first to bear this name again.
“I am proud that so soon after my appointment as President of the BAAINBw Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forceswas allowed to christen this ship “Emden”, says Lehnigk-Emden. Her grandfather had belonged to the crew of the “Emden (I)”. The Imperial Navy’s light cruiser had made a successful raid in the Indian Ocean at the start of World War I, but was sunk by a Royal Australian Navy ship in November 1914.
Grandfather Richard Lehnigk survived the battle and survived the war in captivity. Like the entire crew, he and his descendants had received permission from the Kaiser personally to add the suffix “-Emden” to their family name as a reminder of the cruiser’s achievements.
His granddaughter Annette Lehnigk-Emden has a completely different responsibility today. Already as a longtime leading BAAINBwFederal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed ForcesSince 2016, she had been involved with the supplementary procurement of class 130 corvettes, among many other projects.
“We are experiencing a turning point and a rethinking in the Bundeswehr with the aim of ensuring a well-fortified democracy in our country,” said Lehnigk-Emden in her christening speech. In the implementation, this turning point requires the BAAINBwFederal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forcesalso more efficient and at the same time legally compliant action in order to achieve quickly visible results in terms of quality and quantity of the equipment.
“We in the office are the ‘turning point engine’,” she explained about this responsibility. The specifications of the BAAINBwFederal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forcesare to effectively implement the almost 26 billion euros budget funds to be spent for 2023 as well as the special fund of 100 billion euros. “So if we succeed in increasing the maritime clout by providing new and operational ships and boats for the Navy – then they can also perform their future tasks of national and alliance defense as part of operational armed forces.”
According to Lehnigk-Emden, everyone involved in the corvette project deserved recognition and respect. Those involved so far include above all the employees of the Lake Department in the BAAINBw Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forces as well as that of the shipbuilding consortium K130 (ARGE K130) as a contractor. The first crew of the 1st Corvette Squadron will soon be added. The latter had come to Hamburg with a delegation for the christening of their ship. They will come on board in autumn to start testing the “Emden (VI)” together with a crew from the shipyard in spring 2024.
The ship’s equipment is already in front of it. At the Naval Vessels Lürssens Shipyard in Hamburg, hundreds of subcontractors from ARGE K130 do their work to turn a complex system into a functioning corvette. For example, the Bavarian Hensoldt AG deliverspublic companythe TRS-4D maritime surveillance radar, an upgrade compared to the corvettes of the first lot. A new computer network, the so-called command weapon deployment system, in the corvette’s operations center is intended to serve as an interface between sensors such as the sea surveillance radar, the ship’s weapons and the other systems.
The commander of the fleet, Vice Admiral Frank Lenski, spoke openly about the related problems of information technology at the naming ceremony. However, he is certain that public clients and industry will carry out the project together, “despite the delays due to the lack of an IT information technology- safety-compliant command weapon deployment system, lead to a good end”.
The “stumbling block” IT information technology- Safety forces you to be patient, Lenski said. However, this should not diminish his thanks to the project team, but should rather be an incentive. Because the Navy needs these important units quickly.
For Lenski, given the tense security situation, the Braunschweig class is returning to its original purpose from the late 1980s. “Our corvettes were originally designed as ‘warfighters’ in the marginal seas,” says the admiral. “Today, their intended area of operations will again be primarily the northern flank of the alliance area.” Because the Russian Navy, as a potential enemy of NATO in this sea area, did not let the time pass idly. Given the current state of affairs, it would even emerge stronger from the war against Ukraine.
All those responsible who spoke at the christening of the new corvette were confident. Above all, however, the tradition of a naval ship with the name “Emden” makes it clear that it is not just about technology. This was expressed by the mayor of the sponsored city, Tim Kruithoff: “The ‘Emden’ embodies the strength and courage of our navy.”
BAAINBw Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed ForcesAt the end, President Lehnigk-Emden reminded us to focus on the whole thing when building a corvette, and at the same time looked ahead: “The entire order has not yet been completed, the second batch has not yet been fully processed. And with the eleventh boat, the third lot is already in the starting blocks.”