German Navy Christens New K130 Braunschweig-class Corvette Emden (F266)
German Navy Christens New K130 Braunschweig-class Corvette Emden (F266)

German Navy Christens New K130 Braunschweig-class Corvette Emden (F266)

The godmother of the new ship is Annette Lehnigk-Emden, since 27 April President of the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr). For her, the christening was special in two ways: on the one hand, the ceremony at the Blohm+Voss shipyard was her first ship christening as the new head of the Office. On the other hand, her own family history connects her with the ship’s name, which is steeped in tradition. Three cruisers of the Imperial Navy and the Reichsmarine as well as two frigates of the Navy of the Federal Republic of Germany had already been named after the city of Emden in East Frisia on Germany’s North Sea coast. Ten years after the decommissioning of the last “Emden”, a Bremen-class frigate, a sixth German warship now bears the prestigious name again.

Annette Lehnigk-Emden during her christening speech for the “Emden”
Annette Lehnigk-Emden during her christening speech for the “Emden”. (Photo by NVL Group)

“We are experiencing a historical turning point and a rethinking of the Bundeswehr with the aim of ensuring a defence-oriented democracy in our country. We in the Office are the ‘motor’ of the turning point. So if we succeed in increasing maritime striking power by providing new and operational vessels for the navy – then they will also be able to perform their future tasks of national and alliance defence as part of operational armed forces.,” said Lehnigk-Emden in her christening speech. In terms of implementation, this change of times also required the Equipment Office BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr to act more efficiently and at the same time with legal certainty in order to quickly achieve visible results with regard to the quality and quantity of equipment.

The new naval vessel ties in with a lot of history and emotion. Former Commodore Henning Bess, head of the “Emden family”, and Major Jess Ward, Australia’s Assistant Defence Attaché in Berlin, were two of the many christening guests. (Photo byBundeswehr/Marcus Mohr)

“I am proud that I was able to christen this ship ‘Emden’ so soon after my appointment as President of the BAAINBwBundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr,” said Lehnigk-Emden. Her grandfather had been a crew member of the “Emden (I)”. The light cruiser of the German Imperial Navy had led a successful privateering campaign in the Indian Ocean at the beginning of World War One, but had been sunk by the cruiser HMS “Sydney” of the fledgling Royal Australian Navy in November 1914. Grandfather Richard Lehnigk had survived the battle and endured the war in captivity. Like the entire ship’s company, he and his descendants had received personal permission from the Kaiser to add the suffix “-Emden” to their surnames as a reminder of the cruiser’s achievements.

The bursting of the champagne bottle marks the christening moment. (Photo by Bundeswehr/Nico Theska)

Emden (F266) is the seventh ship of the Braunschweig-class corvette of the German Navy. Emden’s construction started in late 2019 and later laid down on 30 January 2020 by Lürssen-Werft in Bremen. Her forecastle was built by Blohm+Voss and towed to Bremen to be assembled. She had been expected to be commissioned in 2025. However, in September 2022 it was reported that increasing difficulties in integrating the command and control systems for the Batch 2 ships had resulted in a cost growth of 401 million Euros and at least a two year delay for the completion of the lead Batch 2 vessel, and potentially cascading delays for the next two ships in the Batch 2 program (including Emden) as well. On 13 October 2020, she started being towed to Hamburg for assembly with her aft section. She arrived on 17 at Hamburg and on 21 of the same month her assembly started to take place.

The “Emden”: She is the second vessel of the second construction batch of the Braunschweig class respectively Type 130 corvettes. According to NATO standards she already qualifies as a frigate, thus the “F” of her pennant number “F 266”. (Photo by Bundeswehr/Nico Theska)