Germany’s Budget committee of the Bundestag has approved a procurement proposal worth in excess of €25m for the acquisition of additional Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) for use on the country’s F124 Sachsen-class guided missile frigates.

The contract also includes corresponding launch and transport containers, and spare parts, with a second acquisition tranche in 2024 to include the future F126 frigates as well as additional units for the in-service Sachsen-class vessels.

In addition, according to a 20 April statement, the ESSM could also feature on the F123 Brandenburg-class frigates in the future, which currently relies on the alternative Rolling Airframe Missile for air-defence requirements.

The ESSM system commonly launched through the US Mk 41 vertical launch system (VLS), which is fitted to the F124 frigates and is slated to be included on the future F126 platforms. While the older F123 vessels have no such VLS, the ESSM can also be fired from a deck-mounted box launcher.

Able to be quad packed into a single Mk 41 VLS cell, the ESSM is intended to provide air defence against supersonic anti-ship missiles and has an operational range of over 50km, with a speed in excess of Mach 4.

Germany’s F124 frigates

The Sachsen Class (F124) is Germany’s air defence frigate built by ARGE F124, a consortium consisting of Blohm + Voss as the leading yard, Howaldtwerke-Deutsche Werft and Thyssen Nordseewerke. In January 2005, the three companies became part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.

The first of class, FGS Sachsen (F219), built at the Blohm and Voss shipyard in Hamburg, was commissioned in November 2004. The second, FGS Hamburg (F220) built by HDW, was commissioned in December 2004. The third, FGS Hessen (F221) built by TNSW, was launched in July 2003 and was commissioned in April 2006.

The ship’s medium and long-range anti-air missiles are the Raytheon ESSM and the Standard Missile 2 (SM-2), which are fired from a Mk 41 32-cell VLS. SGS Sachsen successfully completed firing trials with ESSM and SM-2 in July/August 2004.