German Navy’s new frigates have a listing problem: Report

FGS Baden-Württenberg entering Wilhelmshaven navy base, Germany. Photo: Bundeswehr/Dennis Kramer.


German Navy’s new class of F125 frigates are overweight and keep listing to starboard, Reuters reported on May 12, quoting a confidential report.

Overall four frigates will be built by ThyssenKrupp and Luerssen with the first three already in water.

The lead ship in the class is wrapping up combat system trials and is set for a 2017 commissioning, while the second one recently completed the first set of builder’s trials.

According to the confidential annex to a regular German defense ministry report Reuters cited, the frigates are overweight and list 1.3 degrees to starboard.

German defense ministry did not confirm the report adding that the frigates remained on track “speaking in general terms”, according to Reuters.

The German Navy on multiple occasions shared videos of the FGS Baden-Württemberg, the lead ship in the class, but has never mentioned issues with the listing.

The four F125 frigates will replace the eight frigates of the F122-class, which will be gradually decommissioned. The ships were specifically designed for contemporary and future tasks of the German navy. The traditional duties of state-defense were broadened to encompass conflict prevention, crisis response as well as international intervention and stabilization operations.

By the end of the decade, the four ships will be operated by a total of eight crews with a total of 120 personnel each. The German Navy refers to this as the multiple-crew model where the eight crews will be operating as a closed team on a rotation principle.

The frigates are comparable to destroyers in size and are, with a length of 149 meters and a displacement of 7000 tonnes, the biggest operational ships in the German Navy.

6 thoughts on “German Navy’s new frigates have a listing problem: Report”

  1. Well that’s embarrassing. Whether due to improper weight distribution or some quirk of the underwater design will doubtless come out in the (er) wash, as it were. Puts me in mind of the story of the royal yacht “Victoria and Albert” being built for Queen Victoria in the late 1890s, to the design of the DNC, Sir William White. All sorts of ‘improvements’ were made – all for the benefit of the Queen, including a heavy capstan so she could watch the sailors raise anchor to the traditional hornpipe, etc etc – bloating the cost to about 2/3 that of a battleship. Alas, the net result of all these high-placed weights was that when they flooded the dock to let the ship float for the first time, she tipped over… all 4700 tons of her…

    1. An unfortunate incident indeed. I was reminded of the fate of the re-fitted Mary Rose. One wonders why, in the modern era these things happen, British Type 45s can’t operate in tropical conditions, the Charles de Gaulle was too short and had to be lengthened. It’s puzzling. Thanks Matthew.

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