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Type 123 Brandenburg

German Brandenburg Class [originally named the Deutschland Class] frigate has a displacement of 4700 tons fully loaded. The ship is armed with four Aerospatiale Exocet MM38 surface-to-surface missiles, 16 Nato Sea Sparrow surface- to-air missiles with a Lockheed Martin Mk-41 Mod-3 vertical launch system, two 21-cell RAM launchers one Otobreda 76mm/62 Mk- 75 main gun, two Rheinmetall 20mm Rh 202 guns; and 4-324mm Mk-32 Mod-9 (2 twin) anti-submarine torpedo tubes. Two Otobreda SCLAR decoys, chaff, IR flares, intercepts and jammers act as countermeasures. The ship can accommodate 118 personnel (including 19 air crew).

The ship is driven by a CODOG plant of 2 GE 2500 gas turbines each rated at 33,600 HP with a power turbine speed of 3, 600 rpm; two MTU ZOV956 TB92 diesel engines each developing 6568 HP at 1500 rpm with two shafts and controllable pitch propellers giving a maximum speed of 29 knots, or 18 knots on diesels, with a range of 4000 nautical miles at 18 knots. Thee gas turbine that offers the best power to weight ratio and the diesel engine offers the best efficiency.

The Combined Diesel or Gas Turbine Engine System, identified by the acronym "CODOG", is designed such that power is transmitted to the propeller shaft by either the diesel engine or the gas turbine engine. More specifically, coupling arrangements are provided such that at slow cruising speed, the fuel efficient diesel engine is coupled to the propeller shaft, while the gas turbine engine is disengaged. In contrast, when high power is required for combat speeds, the diesel engine is disengaged from the propeller shaft and the gas turbine engine is coupled thereto instead. As can be appreciated, the maximum power which may be delivered to the shaft, at one time in a CODOG system, is equivalent to the maximum power output of the gas turbine engine.

The CODOG (COmbined Diesel Or Gas) arrangement provides propulsion either by diesel engines or gas turbine engines, but not both simultaneously. In contrast, a CODAG (COmbined Diesel And Gas) arrangement would allow both types of propulsion at the same time, as well as independently. Combined cycle arrangements have been used with various combinations of diesel, diesel-electric, gas turbine and steam turbine propulsion. The Royal New Zealand Navy's multi-role vessel HMNZS Canterbury has a Combined Diesel Electric and Diesel (CODLAD) propulsion system.

For the destroyer flotilla the new construction program of Bremen-class frigates was completed in 1984 and the modernization program for the three Luetjens-class destroyers in December 1986. Replacing the oldest warships, namely the four Hamburg-class destroyers and the three Koeln-class frigates, which would reach the absolute end of their service life during the first half of the 1990's, was planned in two stages.The original plan resumed by replacing two Koeln frigates with the seventh and eighth Bremen-class frigates in 1989 and 1990. In March 1986 the principal contract for this was signed, the two frigates werehave since launched.

In line with the Navy's planning, four new F-123 class frigates were to be built in a second stage, with delivery starting in 1994. This new planning development resulted from the need to be able to replace at the earliest possible moment the old units of the destroyer flotilla which were costly in terms of manpower and material. At the same time, because of delays in the "NATO Frigate Replacement for the 1990s" (NFR 90) program, the goal of "delivery of the first ship in 1995, beginning of 1996" could no longer be kept. To the extent the components were still economically viable, the armament of these frigates was to be modeled largely on that of Bremen class frigates, because of the substantial time pressure to realize the F-123 class.

Insofar as possible in the shipbuilding sector itself new directions in modular construction were to be followed. This was to be utilized wherever advantages result for cost savings, shortening construction time, increasing availability in utilization and facilitating later modernization. The order for the building of four Class 123 frigates was placed by the German Ministry of Defence once it had been demonstrated that, with the Blohm + Voss modular method of construction, Consortium "F123" was capable of meeting the BWB requirements.

The modular construction was employed where it resulted in advantages with regard to the following:

  • Savings in construction costs
  • Increase in availability during the operational phase
  • Simplification of modification
  • Reduction in construction time

The attachment of the modules to the ship's hull and connection to the vessel's supply systems are made using the so-called standard interfaces which have been successfully employed by Blohm + Voss for a considerable time.

  • Attachment of the modules to the ship's hull
  • Power supply and data cables with standard plugs
  • Cooling water and compressed air connections
  • Waveguide connections.

In addition, the F123 ship design features improved radar signatures, the inclusion of growth potential, the integration of power boosting sensors and anti-aircraft systems, improved installation and removal routes on board taking into account operational experience gained with the MEKO export frigates and other frigates in service with the German Navy.

In the field of damage control and operational equipment, there is a number of innovations when compared to previous frigates. For the purposes of survivability, the number of damage control areas has been doubled to four. The ventilation, fire fighting and damage control system have been upgraded and designed as independent systems in accordance with MEKO Mod. 3.

MEKO® platforms are designed specifically for the varied deployment of standardizedmodules (weapons, electronics and the ship's technical equipment) which, in addition, are connected with the power supply, the air-conditioning and ventilation system and the data network, for example, via standardized interfaces. All the components needed to run a specific system are accommodated in a single module.

Modularity offers a range of choice in the selection of the on-board systems, whether it be with regard to the integration of customer supplied systems or the use of products thatthe customer already has in service from various manufacturers. By simultaneously building the ship's platform at Blohm + Voss and the modules at the suppliers' premises, a significant saving in both time and cost can be achieved. The modular construction principle also reduces the costs of maintaining and modernizing the vessels. Availability and readiness for action are thus improved.

Experience in the design and construction of first-of-class vessels has shown that build time and cost are related, and efforts are aimed to minimise the elapsed time from contract award to delivery, which includes the lead time for engineering, design, and procurement. The MEKO design philosophy of modular construction, facilitates the parallel design and production of weapons, sensor, electronics and outfitmodules (functional units and pallets), and assists in the reduction of thebuild time. For the design and construction of the MEKO 200PN, an elapsed time of approximately 50 months from contract award to delivery was achieved. By comparison, for the design and construction of an F123 frigater, an elapsed time of 62 months from contract award to delivery was achieved.

Cassidian, the recently re-named defence and security pillar of EADS, protects German Navy ships with identification systems to avoid confrontations with unknown aircraft. With the equipping of the frigate “Niedersachsen” in Wilhelmshaven at the beginning of September, the programme to modernise the frigates of the “Brandenburg” (F123) and “Bremen” (F122) classes was completed in late 2010. This meant that Cassidian had equipped all 12 frigates of the German Navy as well as the five K130 corvettes of the “Braunschweig” class and the ten fast patrol boats of the type S143 with the latest IFF (identification friend-or-foe) technology. Systems of the MSSR 2000 I type use state-of-the-art digital and encryption technology in line with the latest Mode S identification process in order to prevent erroneous attacks through fast recognition of aircraft.

IFF systems, also known as “secondary radars”, enable precise data to be gathered about the origin, course, speed, etc. of individual aircraft by transmitting interrogation signals which are answered by so-called transponders on board friendly aircraft. In this way, IFF systems ensure that approaching aircraft can be reliably identified, thus reducing the risk of erroneous friendly fire. This data exchange is effected using encrypted signals which cannot be analyzed or jammed by hostile forces.

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