F125 Baden-Württemberg Class Frigate, Germany
The German Navy's new F125 frigate will have the capability to be deployed worldwide for up to two years before returning to the home base and can be in operation for up to 5,000h a year, including under tropical conditions. F125 is the project name for the Type 125 Baden-Württemberg class of frigates.
The main mission of the F125 frigate is taking part in joint assignments, including multinational assignments in network-centric operations. The 5,500t displacement frigate has a new and stealthy design of hull and superstructure, which appears to be based on a highly modified Meko-D configuration.
F125 frigate programme
The German Navy started to plan a successor for the F122 Bremen Class frigates in 1997. It operates eight Bremen Class F122 frigates, which entered service between 1982 and 1990.
The concept of the replacement frigates was originally as a multi-role combatant but by 2005, the requirement for the F125 was based on a capability to counter asymmetric threats and perform stabilisation operations with lethal and non-lethal intervention. The German Navy announced that the F125 would be armed with land attack systems and air warfare point-defence equipment but would not be equipped with sonar.
In June 2007, ThyssenKrupp announced the Arge F125 consortium had been contracted by the German Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) for four F125 frigates. The Arge F125 consortium comprises the industrial leader, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (including Blohm + Voss and Nordseewerke) with Lurssen Werft.
Construction began in May 2011 and the first frigate, Baden-Württemberg, was christened at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems' Hamburg site in December 2013. Christening of the second frigate, Nordrhein-Westfalen, took place in April 2015 and keel for the third frigate, Sachsen-Anhalt, was laid at the Hamburg site in June 2014. The keel laying ceremony of the final 125-class frigate, Rheinland-Pfalz, was held in January 2015.
Delivery of the first of class F125 is scheduled for 2016. The final vessel is expected to be delivered by 2019.
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F125 frigate crew
Each frigate has two crews ranging between 105 and 120 people, who are changed every four months. The number of crew represents an approximately 50% reduction in crew compared with previous generation frigates and is achieved partly through a high level of automation.
The frigate also accommodates 50 special forces soldiers and their equipment. The necessary transport can be two helicopters or four armed boats.
Command and control
In March 2006, EADS was contracted to supply the F125 command and control and weapons deployment system, FuWES (Fuhrungs-und Waffeneinsatzsystem). The contract covered the development and delivery of the system, including the complete software, hardware and infrastructure, and the FuWES testing and performance verification for all four frigates.
The FuWES system has an open and modular structure allowing flexibility to accommodate future additional or modified systems. In order to provide tactical data exchange and a high level of interoperability with other joint and combined military platforms, the communications systems, link 11, link 16 and link 22 are integrated into the F125 command and control system. The combat management system is operated from the Atlas Elektronik OMADA consoles, designed specifically for the F125.
Integrated bridge and navigation system
Previously Anschutz & Co, a subsidiary of Carl Zeiss, Raytheon Anschutz in Kiel, Germany, was contracted in August 2008 for the supply of the integrated bridge and navigation system for the F125 frigates. The integrated bridge and navigation system consists of six multi-function consoles capable of displaying various functions such as two X/S-band radars, two electronic chart display and information systems (ECDIS) and NautoConning navigation data, which reads and displays in a logically arranged manner and distributes the navigation data.
One of the six consoles is for route planning purposes. The integrated bridge and navigation system encompasses the ship steering and control equipment, a Raytheon ring-laser based dual MINS marine inertial navigation system, two data distribution units and a complete set of navigational sensors and meteorological equipment. A redundant, laid-out ethernet bus configuration interconnects the multi-function consoles and sensors.
Weapons onboard the F125
The ship is equipped for defence against air attack and also for land attack.
The F125 is also armed with non-lethal weapons, such as water cannons and searchlights for non-provocative deterrence and defence.
The ship is fitted with ten guns, ranging from 12.7mm to 155mm, which allow fast automatic engagement.
The BWB awarded Oto Melara contracts for the supply of five 127/64 LW Alleggerito lightweight naval guns, four for installation on the F125 frigates and the fifth for training.
The gun is installed on the forward gun deck. The turret of the 127/64 Alleggerito has a low radar cross section.
The gun has two automatic feeding devices (AFDs), one for the charges and one for the projectiles. The rounds are automatically assembled before entering the turret and can fire long-range Vulcano ammunition. The guns have a 35-rounds-a-minute rate of fire and a range of 23km against surface targets and 8.6km against airborne targets.
The German Navy has also selected the Oto Melara remote-controlled 12.7mm HITROLE naval turret in the naval tilting (NT) option for the F125. The contract covers the supply of 25 systems, five for installation of each of the four frigates and five for installation on land for training.
Two quadruple missile launchers for the Boeing RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile are installed on the missile deck forward of the funnel. The Harpoon missiles are armed with a 227kg warhead and use active radar homing. The missiles have a high subsonic speed (Mach 0.9) and a range of up to 130km.
The F125 has two 21-cell MK49 launchers armed with the Raytheon RIM-116 rolling airframe missile (RAM). The RAM point defence missile is a lightweight, infrared-homing, surface-to-air missile for deployment against incoming anti-ship cruise missiles. The forward launcher is installed immediately forward of the bridge and the aft launcher is installed on the roof of the helicopter hangar just forward of the helicopter deck.
The frigates have no conventional on-board sonar but instead have a diver and swimmer detection sonar to counter terrorist threats. The frigates are equipped with a 360° infrared surveillance system installed on the front surface of the tower mast at a position just lower than the air and surface search radar.
Radar systems will include an EADS TRS-3D air and surface search radar, navigation and fire control radars. The TRS-3D radar carries out automatic detection, track initiation and tracking of all types of air and sea targets.
The navigation radar is installed on the roof of the bridge.
Much of the electronic warfare suite has not been announced but it will include four Rheinmetall multi-ammunition softkill systems (MASS). The MASS decoy and mini mortar dispensers are installed on the port and starboard sides above the bridge and on the helicopter hangar roof.
The frigate has a 490m² aft helicopter deck and a hangar for two NH-90 helicopters. The helicopters have a range of 790km.
The frigates are fitted with a new combined diesel electric and gas (CODLAG) electrical propulsion system with a 20MW General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine, four MTU 20V 4000 M53B diesel engines providing 3,015kW each (total 12.06MW) and two Siemens electric motors providing 4.5MW each (total 9MW).
The main machinery will run for 30,000h between major overhauls. The F125 is fitted with bow thrusters for precision dockyard manoeuvring without assistance.
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