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MEKO® A300

On 29 September 2021, a representative from Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) provided data on the Meko-A300 class frigate design that the company is proposing to the Polish Navy as part of the Miecznik program at a conference hosted by the Polish defence media outlet Defence 24. TKMS previously proposed the MEKO A-300 design for Greece in the Hellenic Navy program. This proposal however, appears to have been unsuccessful after the announcement of an MOU between the Greek government and the French Naval Group for 3 frigates.

According to Greek industry portal Doureios Ippos (“Trojan Horse”), ships offered to Greece would have 125-130 meters of length, and displacement of 5500 tons. They would carry up to 64 anti-aircraft missiles, including 32 long range Aster 30 or SM-2MR, and 32 medium range RIM-162 ESSM or CAMM-ER. Its main battery would be a 127-mm naval gun. No information of anti-ship armament was leaked. They would be also equipped with Thales APAR Block 2 multi-purpose radar and Thales SMART-L long range surveillance radar.

Survival, stealth technology, lethality and adaptability to various missions were presented as the four strengths of the MEKO A-300. The MEKO A-300 class frigates will be fully equipped and fully functional, capable of fighting in three operational environments: air, surface and submarine. The MEKO A-300 project was specifically developed to protect actions in high risk conditions, in the three environments, such as those present on NATO's eastern flank in the Baltic Sea region.

The Polish program "Miecznik" (Swordfish) for the supply of multi-role frigates had a lot to envy. The country decided exactly what it seeks to strengthen its navy, created a framework of specifications and financial requirements and after a study, invited 3 international shipbuilders to submit proposals - the Spanish Navantia with an evolution of the F100, the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) with the MEKO A-300 (proposal rejected by Greece from the initial stage) and the British Babcock with the Arrowhead 140 (Type 31e frigate).

The MEKO A-300 for Poland was a heavily armed vessel, the heaviest seen to date in a western frigate design. The main cannon is the 127mm Vulcano, there are 16 anti-aircraft missiles, 32 full-length MK41 cells for anti-aircraft missiles, and another 36 cells also for medium-range anti-aircraft missiles (not named). Also two launchers for close defense missiles, one RAM (on the helicopter hangar) and one similar (on the hangar).

In addition to the main armament, there are 4 turrets, two with laser and two with microwave emission (front and rear in pairs) for interference-shooting down drones and incoming missiles, 2 triple torpedo tubes, sonar keel, space for 4 containers under the deck for special armament-equipment (eg for sliding sonar, mine laying or for placing heavy-duty torpedo launchers!), and between them a place for up to 2 boats of 11 meters for which a rear door with a ramp is provided. The latter may or may not be manned, as mine and submarine detectors.

As if that were not enough, two turrets with 35-40 mm guns appear on either side of the helicopter hangar and two others with 12.7 mm machine guns. The ship will have a package of countermeasures, baits, electronic warfare and so on, while it seems that a helicopter up to 15 tons is supported. The ship can cary the combination of a total of 68 vertical launch cells and RAM be multi-layered defense, with a load that reaches 196 missiles and at a distance of up to 200 km if anti-ballistic missiles are used (assuming SM3 / 6 are implied).

The hull is expected to be of the order of 130 meters long, with a tonnage of around 5,500-6,000 tons. The MEKO A-300 will be fitted with a combination of APAR (Advanced Phased Array Radar) Block 2 multifunction radar with SMART L (Signaal Multibeam Acquisition Radar for Tracking, L band) long-range search radar [although in the drawings there is no SMART L]. The SMART-L is a 3D multibeam radar designed to provide long-range air & surface surveillance and target designation. It is a fully digitally controlled Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. The applied high-end techniques result in a radar with an unrivaled long-range performance of 2,000 km.

The APAR Block 2 is a new X-band multifunctional radar featuring multi-beam volume search, horizon search, hemispherical target tracking and unparalleled firepower with semi-active and active missiles. The radar system fully supports anti-air warfare (AAW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) operations and is fully compatible with Standard Missile SM-2 and ESSM missiles.

To improve protection from attack, the ship is divided into two primary zones (front and aft islands, a feature already adopted on the F125 class frigate of the German Navy). In addition, the ship's weaponry and sensors are split into two islands in order to keep the ship fighting while also dealing with fire or damage. The frigate's missile, cannon and torpedoes are specifically zoned. In addition to the ECD antenna system, the sensors were further divided by placing two navigation radars on the front mast and one on the rear mast, for example. The Combat Information Center (CIC) has also been duplicated. The primary CIC is usually found in the forward section, while a backup CIC is located near the stern (behind the hangar deck).

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Page last modified: 24-12-2021 18:50:11 ZULU