In a significant development for the German Navy, the replacement of outdated vessels has been set in motion with the construction of two new tankers. The aging ships, named “Rhön” and “Spessart,” which have dutifully served since 1977, will soon make way for these state-of-the-art replacements. With an investment exceeding 900 million euros, this endeavor underscores Germany’s commitment to enhancing its naval capabilities. The ceremonial keel-laying event, held at the Neptun shipyard in Rostock, was graced by the presence of Parliamentary State Secretary Siemtje Möller. The initiation of construction for the first of the two tankers on August 8 demonstrated the Ministry of Defense’s steadfast dedication to the project. Möller’s attendance highlights the project’s significance in the realm of defense.
These forthcoming vessels, known as Class 707 marine tankers, boast impressive capabilities. Each tanker is capable of accommodating approximately 12 million liters of fuel, while simultaneously supporting the refueling of up to two warships at sea with marine diesel. This cutting-edge capability positions them to replace the outdated Class 704 tankers, which have faithfully served the German Navy for over 45 years. These new tankers prioritize environmental responsibility. The need for retirement of “Rhön” and “Spessart” arises from the fact that their operational reliability has diminished with age. Additionally, modern environmental standards are met by these new vessels through the integration of double outer hulls, preventing diesel leaks in case of accidents. Advanced exhaust systems further ensure a reduction in emissions, aligning with contemporary environmental norms.
With a combined cost of approximately 914 million euros, encompassing spare parts, specialized tools, and training, these 173-meter-long tankers are a testament to Germany’s commitment to maritime progress. The esteemed company Lürssen Naval Vessels has been tasked with their construction, enlisting the expertise of the Meyer Werft Group as a subcontractor. The initial Class 707 tanker is anticipated for delivery to the Navy during the first quarter of 2025, with its counterpart following a year later in the first quarter of 2026. As the old Class 704 tankers are set to conclude their service life in August 2026, the timely introduction of their successors ensures continuity in naval operations. This procurement aligns with Germany’s commitment to NATO, assuring the alliance that two fuel-supplying vessels will be available for sea missions until 2040.