The F125 Baden-Württemberg Class Frigate

F125 Baden-Württemberg Class Frigate

The F125 Baden-Württemberg-class frigates is a class of frigate of the German Navy, which is design and constructed by ARGE F125, a joint-venture of Thyssen-Krupp and Lürssen. The Baden-Württemberg-class are officially classified as frigates but in size they are comparable to destroyers, since, with a displacement of more than 7,200 tons, they will be the biggest class of frigate worldwide. They are to replace the Bremen class.

In contrast to the Bremen class, which were built with Cold War-era scenarios in mind, the Baden-Württemberg-class frigates will have much enhanced land-attack capabilities. This will better suit the frigates in possible future peacekeeping and peacemaking missions. For such reasons, the frigates will also mount non-lethal weapons.

Major design goals are reduced radar, infrared and acoustic signatures (stealth technology), something that was introduced to the German Navy with the Brandenburg-class frigate and was further developed with the Sachsen-class frigate and Braunschweig-class corvette.

Other important requirements are long maintenance periods: It should be possible to deploy Baden-Württemberg-class frigates for up to two years away from homeports with an average sea operation time of more than 5,000 hours per year (that’s nearly 60%) which includes operation under tropical conditions. For this reason, a combined diesel-electric and gas arrangement has been chosen for the machinery. This allows the substitution of large and powerful diesel engines for propulsion and sets of smaller diesel generators for electric power generation with a pool of med-sized diesel generators, reducing the number of different engines.

To enhance survivability of the frigates, important systems are laid out in the two island principle, i.e. present at least twice at different places within the ship. This is also visible in the superstructures, which are split in two larger pyramidal deckhouses. The aerials of the Cassidian TRS-4D Active electronically scanned array radar will be distributed over the two pyramids. This will ensure that the ship remains operational in case of severe damage, such as accidents or enemy action. It will also allow the frigates to keep station if needed when something breaks down and no replacement is available.

An initial batch of four frigates was ordered by the German Navy on 26 June 2007. The initial batch of four ships costs around 2.2 billion Euros. In April 2007, a contract with Finmeccanica was signed for delivery of Otobreda 127 mm Vulcano main guns as well as remote-controlled light gun turrets for the Baden-Württemberg-class. The initially considered 155mm MONARC gun, as well as the naval GMLRS rocket launcher, were dropped due to problems with the navalization of these land-based systems. The deal with Oto Melara had become opportune, because Germany still had counter trade obligations towards Italy, as Italy had purchased two German U212A class submarines.

The Baden-Württemberg-class frigates are equipped with ten guns for defence against air and surface targets. The vessels are also armed with non-lethal weapons, such as water cannons and searchlights for non-provocative deterrence and defence.

Ships in the class

Pennant number Name Shipyard Laid down Launched Delivered Status
F222 Baden-Württemberg ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems 2 November 2011 12 December 2013 planned for 30 November 2016 in commission
F223 Nordrhein-Westfalen Lürssen 24 October 2012 16 April 2015 planned for 15 October 2017 Fitting out
F224 Sachsen-Anhalt ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems 4 June 2014 4 March 2016 planned for Spring 2019 Fitting out
F225 Rheinland-Pfalz Lürssen 29 January 2015 24 May 2017 planned for 18 August 2019 Fitting out
Class overview
Builders: ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems/Lürssen
Operators:  German Navy
Preceded by: Bremen class
Cost: ca. € 650 million per ship (can increase 3% p. a.)
Built: 2011-present
In service: mid-2017
In commission: November 2016
Building: 3
Planned: 4
Completed: 1
General characteristics (Note that the final design may differ.)
Type: Frigate
Displacement: 7,200 tonnes
Length: 149.52 m (490 ft 7 in)
Beam: 18.80 m (61 ft 8 in)
Draft: 5 m (16 ft 5 in)
Propulsion:
  • CODLAG
  • 1 × 20 MW gas turbine
  • 2 × 4.7 MW electric motors
  • 4 × 2.9 MW diesel generators
  • 3 × gearboxes: one for each shaft and one to crossconnect the gas turbine to them
  • 2 × shafts, driving controllable pitch propellers
  • 1 × 1 MW bow thruster
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h) on diesel only, 26 kn (48 km/h) max.
Range: 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
  • Submarine ROVs
  • 4 × 11 m (36 ft 1 in) RHIB, capable of more than 40 kn (74 km/h)
Capacity: Space for two 6.1 m (20 ft 0 in) containers
Complement: 190 (standard crew: 110)
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • 1 × Cassidian TRS-4D AESA radar
  • 2(?) × navigation radars
  • IFF
  • diver and swimmer detection sonar (no anti-submarine sonar)
  • Laser warning
  • KORA-18 Combined RADAR and COMMS ESM from GEDIS
  • Link 11, Link 16, Link 22 communications systems
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • TKWA/MASS (Multi Ammunition Softkill System)
  • ECM
Armament:
  • Naval guns:
    • 1 × 127 mm lightweight Otobreda naval gun with guided VULCANO ammunition for land-attack missions (range: more than 100 km (62 mi))
    • 2 × 27 mm MLG 27 remote-controlled autocannons
    • 5 × 12.7 mm Hitrole-NT remote-controlled machine gun turrets
    • 2 × 12.7 mm heavy machine guns (manually controlled)
  • CIWS:
    • 2 × RAM Block II surface-to-air missile launcher/CIWS, 21 cells each
  • Anti-ship missiles:
    • 8 × RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles (interim solution until joint sea/land attack missile RBS 15 MK4 becomes available)
  • Non-Lethal:
    • Water cannons
Aircraft carried: 2 × NH-90 helicopters

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