The frigate “Sachsen-Anhalt” (F 224) provides adequate space to accommodate two NH90 NFH helicopters and two armed Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) manufactured by Fr. Fassmer Werft.
(All photos: thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions AG)
The frigate “Sachsen-Anhalt” is scheduled to be handed over to the German BAAINBw defence
procurement agency in early 2019, according to TKMS. Commissioning and in-port trials of the first F125 frigate, “Baden-Württemberg” (F 222), have now advanced to the stage where sea trials can commence as planned in spring this year, the shipbuilder continued. Handover of the first-of-class to the BAAINBw is scheduled for mid-2017.
The 7,300 tons (full displacement) frigate will be capable of remaining at sea for 24 months, representing the first realisation of the intensive use concept allowing longer deployments in international stabilisation, peacekeeping, and counter-terrorism missions. This capability is supported by a reduced crew of 120. The two-crew strategy allows a complete change of the crew during deployment. An important design characteristic of the Type F125 frigate is that the ship will be able to support up to 50 Special Forces. Her principal sensor is the TRS-4D/NR (Non Rotating) phased array radar manufactured by Airbus Defence and Space, which is an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar.
CommentaryAn European Union (EU) maritime security strategy, adopted in 2014, calls for new responsibilities in the maritime domain – both regionally and globally. In doing so, major European countries are in the process of implementing new naval capabilities. The German Navy – ranking fourth among the European fleets with respect to fleet warship tonnage – plays an important role within this scheme; but, there are additional investments needed to provide the fleet with new surface combatants, underwater warfare weapons and equipment, and aircraft. Presently, the German Navy’s main construction project is the four-ship Type F125 (“Baden-Württemberg” class) frigate built by the ARGE F125 consisting of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems and Fr. Lürssen Werft. With a full displacement of 7,300 tons, the new ships provide staying power in littoral crisis zones with graduated lethality. They will be equipped with Airbus Defence and Space’s newly-developed TRS-4D NR (Non Rotating) AESA radar. Their delivery will be completed by 2019.
However, the German Navy aborted its plans for two Joint Support Ships (JSS) last January, with the Navy Command now considering cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy over their amphibious/strategic transport assets. Berlin gave ‘green light’ for the Navy’s next large procurement programme – initially four examples of the MKS 180 multirole combat ship costing €3.9Bn (US$4.28Bn). Offering mission modularity at its best, the German Navy “wants to have a large ship”, German Flotilla Admiral Karl-Wilhelm Ohlms said on 1 October 2015, capable of meeting all the requirements of 3D naval warfare completely. The ship’s displacement stood at 9,000 tons in mid-October 2015. A unique process in German Navy history, the MoD invited international bidders - DCNS, Damen Group, NAVANTIA and Fincantieri - for the construction contract. First delivery is expected to be in 2023. The two new surface ship classes will facilitate on the Navy’s Long-Term Development Plan (LTDP) for 2020 and beyond, according to which Germany’s naval forces are in transition, with the great bulk of major surface and underwater warfare assets being optimised for ‘open ocean’ or ‘blue water’ operations. Currently, some 50 percent of the fleet’s surface und underwater combatants are optimised for shallow-water operations.
By Stefan Nitschke, Hamburg