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 three frigates were built under the trilateral frigate agreement, signed by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, which provides cooperation in national construction of the frigates in each country.
In the Netherlands Royal Schelde build the De Zeven Provincien (LCF) Class frigates and in Spain Navantia (formerly Bazan then Izar) build the Alvaro de Bazan (F100) Class.
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.
Command and control
A Thales Nederland (formerly Signaal) Sewaco FD combat system using a distributed real-time database and integrated communications network includes 17 multifunction consoles and processors, two large-screen tactical displays, 12 bus interface units, a COSMOS monitor, a redundant databus and distributed processing.
The system uses asynchronous transfer mode-based (ATM) architectures for fast data transmission.
The ship’s medium and long-range anti-air missiles are the Raytheon evolved Sea Sparrow missile (ESSM) and the Standard missile SM2111-A, which are fired from a VLS mk41 32-cell launcher. SGS Sachsen successfully completed firing trials with ESSM and SM-2 in July / August 2004.
The F124 has two rolling airframe missile (RAM), mk31 launchers and two four-cell Harpoon missile launchers. Boeing Harpoon is an autonomous all-weather anti-ship missile with range in excess of 65 nautical miles. The RAM missile from Raytheon and RAM Systems GmbH, is a fire-and-forget missile which provides short-range defence against incoming anti-ship missiles including sea-skimming missiles.
The F124 is equipped with an Oto Melara 76mm gun, and two Rheinmetall 20mm guns.
A KMW PzH 2000 howitzer turret with a 155mm gun has been mounted on the deck of FGS Hamburg (F220) as a demonstration of the feasibility of the system for naval applications. The concept is called MONARC and requires a flexible elastic mounting. MONARC has a range of 22nm. Live fire trials were conducted in September 2003.
The ship is fitted with two triple mk32 torpedo launchers for EurotorpMU90 lightweight torpedoes and also has helicopter-borne long-range lightweight torpedoes.
The flight deck and hangar accommodate two NH90 helicopters. The flight deck is rated to accommodate a 15t class helicopter such as the Merlin, for fuelling and torpedo loading. The helicopter handling system from MBB-Forder und Hebesysteme uses laser guided and computer controlled manipulator arms to secure the helicopter after landing.
Countermeasures and sensors
The ship’s electronic countermeasures suite includes an EADS Systems and Defence Electronics FL1800 SII ECM system and six Sippican Hycor SuperRBOC launchers which fire chaff and flares. Electronic support measures are provided by EADS Systems and Defence Electronics Maigret CESM (communications ESM).
The radars include two Atlas Elektronik 9600-M I/J-band multi-function ARPA radars, Thales Nederland SMART-L long-range air and surface surveillance and target indication radar, and Thales Nederland APAR active phased array radar. APAR is a multi-function radar operating at X band which provides target search and tracking and guidance for the Standard missile 2.
The ship is equipped with a Thales Nederland Sirius IRST long-range infra-red surveillance and tracking sensor.
STN Atlas MSP 500 electro-optical fire control system provides target acquisition and tracking for the main gun. The bow sonar is the STN Atlas Elektronik DSQS-24B.
The F124 is equipped with a combined diesel and gas propulsion system, CODAG. The two operating shafts work independently. The diesel engines are installed in a non-walkable sound-proof capsule. The shafts drive two five-bladed controllable pitch propellers.
In diesel mode, one of the diesel engines (type MTU 20V 1163 TB93) is operated via two main gearboxes and one cross-connection gearbox. The peak performance of the diesel provides 7,400kW at 1,350rpm.
The ship has an operating range of 4,000nm at a cruising speed of 18kt in diesel mode.
In gas turbine mode, the gas turbine (model GE 7 LM2500 PF/MLG) provides 23,500kW and 3,600rpm, operating two main gearboxes and the cross-connection gearbox.
In combined diesel and gas propulsion mode (CODAG-mode), both diesel engines and the gas turbine engine are operated. The maximum speed of the ship is 29kt.