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Type 125 / F125 Baden-Württemberg

The Frigate Class 125 is designed for world-wide conflict prevention and crisis management. Four new Class 125 frigates of 7,200 tons were under construction, with the last delivered to the German Navy in 2021. The Bundeswehr ordered a total of four frigates of the type F125 at a unit price of originally 650 million euros.

The ships have been designed in response to the increasing demand for enhanced capabilities required for stabilization, peacekeeping, peace enforcement and humanitarian operations. The ships are designed for overseas deployments of up to two years. A state-of-the-art combat suite, a COmbined Diesel Electric And Gasturbine (CODLAG) propulsion plant, an extremely high endurance of 5,000 hours per annum at sea, reduced maintenance as well as enhanced reliability are main characteristics of the Class 125 frigates.

The concept of the Bundeswehr sets the framework for the development of the armed forces. Missions for international conflict prevention and crisis management, including the fight against international terrorism, determine the structure and equipment of the Bundeswehr. As a result, the armed forces intervention, stabilisation and support forces operate in stabilizing peace missions of long duration in multinational groups. This includes enforcement of embargo measures, the monitoring of sea belong to their range of tasks and airspace and the support of evacuation measures.

The Navy aims to develop the maritime capabilities of the Bundeswehr usage-oriented in terms of the transformation of the Bundeswehr. To the marine meets the requirements in stabilizing peace missions with an innovative type of frigate, which has little in common with previous ships. The conceptual differences range from the kind of effectors (armament) to parameters such as operating time and crew size. The task profile requires new approaches in the corporate organization and in the technical design.

In the Centre of conceptual claims is significantly increasing the joint effectiveness in use. Characteristic of the new frigate type F125 are therefore the following capabilities:

  • Ability to tactical fire support from Lake land (land target combat),
  • Ability to use support special and specialized forces (E.g. evacuation operations),
  • Competence in the network centric operations with land and air forces and
  • Long-lasting availability in the operational area.

For use in stabilisation operations, flexible options should be provided by a new sensor-weapons concept. Based on a basic qualification for permanent monitoring of sea areas requires F125 of selective, gradual and precise work skills that match the usage environment. The capacity in any position using appropriate means both snowballing as have a de-escalating to can interact, is be crucial.

In addition, F125 must receive strong protection and work skills against asymmetric threats. Protection is generated from information superiority, rapid and flexible reaction possibilities on board and a suitable ship construction. In addition, automated monitoring systems on board, as well as the expansion of the direct detection area of the vessel on roads and in the port through the use of boats and underwater drones are.

Just this area requires intensive investigations and the application of harmonized considerations to reach an effective and technically manageable overall concept. Will be addressed by embarkation capacity to Board helicopters, special forces, Association leaders with staff, naval protection force, as well as through the integration of several boats required mission flexibility.

From the demand, a fundamentally different technical, logistical and economic interpretation of vessels following a prolonged availability in the operational area. Here, stand up to two-year period of the vessel in the area without scheduled shipyard repair or return to the home port is required. This concept of the F125 frigate called the intensive use requires a doubling of hours between maintenance phases compared with the in service units of the Navy.

The need for a new concept of the crew follows - due to the the personnel requirements steigerbaren not in the same way - the increased availability of vessels. The design of the vessel for a 100 men permanent crew, which will be replaced in the four-month rhythm in the operational area (two crew concept) is required. The doubling of the hour approaches along with this significant reduction of personnel due to additional technical solutions for maintenance, operation and use of the vessel. Automation and the technical combination of the various instruments and equipment gain a new and much stronger role compared to the usual, personnel-intensive operation. The approaches pursued so far in the construction of naval vessels are not suitable.

The possible period of use can be extended from nine months to 24 months. Formerly 235 sailors would be required for the operation of such a vessel, but the new design reduces the required manning levels to 120. These are necessary properties for the new two-crew concept of frigates. So, above all the crew members are relieved of expensive and strenuous transit journeys. The at-sea times become shorter and the predictability is improved for the individual. Generally, the attractiveness of seafaring will thus increase.

The F125 frigate can also carry in addition to the regular crew, 20 soldiers for helicopter use and depending on the usage location, 50 special forces soldiers. Four boats developed specially for the F125 class and two onboard helicopters are available for the on-board special forces. Equipped with extensive communications technology and an armament as required, the boats are best suited for different usage situations. An operations center is also available on the ship, which allows an embarked usage staff to exercise leadership within an international coalition. Also separate accommodation and function rooms for the special forces are also available. Alternatively, the use of these areas also for evacuation tasks is possible.

The F125 is the first German navy frigate to be fitted with a new CODLAG (Combined Diesel Electric and Gas-turbine) electric propulsion system. The advantages of the gas turbine drive, which is designed for high speed, are combined with the benefits of the electrical propulsion unit, which is designed for cruising speed with low noise signatures and high efficiency.

The ships are designed in such a way that they can be deployed for up to two years without having to return to port. The new frigates of the German navy are therefore admirably suited to meet the requirements for vessels deployed on peace-keeping duties. Technical requirements are high. The ships' deployment, which can last up to two years, necessitates intensive use of all the equipment and systems on board.

Logistics support for the F125’s planned two-year deployments has been simplified by providing a high level of inbuilt redundancy that reduces onboard spares requirements. Combined with advanced user interfaces, this minimises maintenance and training requirements, reducing through-life costs.

The F125 is a very special kind of vessel, since it has been carefully configured to meet both the new conditions found at an international level and the needs of the German Navy. The requirements profile ranges from national and allied defense, peace-keeping initiatives and humanitarian rescue missions to combating terrorism and the repulsion of asymmetric threats. As well as this unique mission versatility, the F125 is the first vessel in the history of the German Navy to introduce the two-complement concept, permitting intensive use in the form of a maximum mission duration of up to 24 months. In this way, the F125 is capable of delivering active crisis prevention via long-term stabilization missions.

In implementing the F125 frigate program, the German shipbuilding industry once again demonstrated its capacity to innovate and its innate strengths. Designed and equipped for deployment as part of allied defense missions and crisis prevention, as well as supporting humanitarian rescue missions, counter-terrorism and the combating of asymmetric threats, the 125-class frigate is one of the world's most advanced frigates. The 125-class frigate's outstanding mission versatility is matched by an innovative complement model and a systematic, technical implementation of the intensive use capability principle: despite considerably reduced crew numbers, this approach means mission duration can be extended significantly beyond the typical limit for frigates.

The new German frigate F125 is lying awkwardly in the water, according to the confidential part of the defense department's defense report from April 2017. An investigation in January 2017, a list of 1.3 degrees to starboard was found. Measures to eliminate imbalances were agreed with industry. The Ministry of Defense commented: "In general, though, I can say that recent tests ('Heeling tests') have shown that both the agreed performance parameters and frigate F125 design parameters are being met". In addition, the ship was obviously still too heavy. According to an evaluation of September 2016, the frigate exceeded the contractually agreed weight by 178 tonnes. There was a risk that any further increase in curb weight would affect the rest of the vessel's planning.

In December 2017, for the first time, the Bundeswehr returned an already taken over ship to its shipyard. The reason was considerable software and hardware defects on board the new frigate "Baden-Wuerttemberg". The Navy command in Rostock declined the commissioning. The competent arms office demanded from the Hamburg shipyard Blohm + Voss eliminate the shortcomings. . Originally, the first frigate was to be put into service in 2014.

Tyler Rogoway wrote "... depending on who you ask, the whole idea behind the controversial F125 frigate program is either one of genius based in stark reality or a largely illogical, misguided, and wasteful mess of an endeavor.... For its large size, the F125s pack a very soft bite.... Now the ships are armed with eight aging RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, a 127mm lightweight Otobreda deck gun with guided VULCANO ammunition for shore and land attack.... What's critically lacking here is any sort of area air defense capability. Not to mention any organic anti-submarine weaponry beyond the two potentially embarked helicopters. The ship lacks any type of anti-submarine sonar as well. For such a large surface combatant, lacking some sort of air defense capability beyond close-in weapon systems seems outright bizarre, especially considering the ship's capable sensor suite. ... The Baden-Wurttemberg class is supposed to be used to countering "asymmetric" threats and to perform "stabilization, crisis management, conflict prevention, and international intervention" operations. In other words, these ships are meant to be used in low-threat environments against enemies with rudimentary combat capabilities at best."

Rogoway is a perceptive and eloquent writer, but his complaint was essentially that Germany had built a special purpose frigate, as opposed to a general purpose destroyer such as the much larger and vastly more expensive American Arleigh Burke destroyer. Much the same could be said of most European surface combatants, all of which tend to be appreciably smaller [and less expensive] than the Arleigh Burke, and none of which possess the full range of combat systems on the American vessels. The Baden-Wuerttemberg is unique only in being focused on low intensity operations [of the sort that Navies around the world confront every day], as opposed to the sort of main battle fleet slugfest that hasn't been much in evidence since the Falklands. Possibly not as romantic as crossing the "T" at Jutland, but nonetheless usable maritime power.

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Page last modified: 06-06-2021 18:20:04 ZULU