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“Low Utilization” at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems

Until the last ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) based in Kiel, the the ship- and especially submarine construction division of the ThyssenKrupp corporation based in Essen had been competing for a large submarine deal with Australia on the construction of twelve submarines with a volume of 35 billion Euros (50 billion $). But in the end the Paris based group Direction des Constructions Navales (DCNS), in which the French State holds a stake of 62.5% received the bid acceptance. The exact reasons for this have yet to be communicated to TKMS by the Australian government, but several reasons come into closer consideration. Technical aspects may have played a role. TKMS competed with a significantly enlarged version of it´s Dolphin II-class submarine designed by the Ingenieurkontor Lübeck while DCNS wanted to score points with a downsized and conventional rather than nuclear version of the Suffren-class (also referred to as Barracuda-class), which is currently under construction for the French Navy. It could also be that the Australian government had doubts in the German fixed price offer. But in the end greater political backing from the French government most likely tipped the scales in favor of DCNS, industry insiders say.IMG_0437

The submarines for the Australian Navy were to be built in Australia anyway and so TKMS officially announces that it still has a high utilization of it´s submarine construction capacities even without the Australian deal. Nevertheless ThyssenKrupp is checking now on the structural positioning of it´s shipyard subsidiary and how it´s performance can be further increased in a dynamic and challenging competitive environment. It has been said that there were only preliminary considerations in an early stage, however, in an in-house message to it´s employees “reducing employment” and “low utilization” are mentioned by the TKMS management. Already many temporary employees received their notice that they have to leave by the end of the month. With 3,500 employees and 600 temporary employees TKMS is one of the biggest employers in the state Schleswig-Holstein.

Sources (in German):

British Frigate encounters Russian Submarine

Stary Oskol (2015) by Mil.ru, CC-BY 4.0,

The British frigate HMS Kent (F 78) encountered the Russian submarine Stary Oskol in the North Sea, a submarine of the diesel-electric Kilo-II-class which has been exported to several other nations by Russia. While the British Ministry of Defence emphasized that the Royal Navy has a vigilant watch in international and territorial waters and that locating this submarine was combined effort with NATO allies the Russian Ministry of Defence pointed out that the submarine was traveling surfaced at slow speed accompanied by a tugboat.