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Type 143A Gepard Speedboat

German control of the western Baltic and its approaches is critical to the success of naval operations in the North Atlantic and the land battle in central Europe. Introduced in 1982, these units were the most capable and modern of the German surface and sub-surface forces in the Baltic and are capable of inflicting heavy losses upon Pact forces throughout the western Baltic.

The Gepard class Type 143A FAC represented the most advanced and capable unit of its type. This link-capable platform was outfitted with the prototype rolling airframe missile (RAM) air defense system and Exocet surface to surface missile system. This class was specifically developed for the western Baltic and has worked well with all German air assets as well as NATO AWACS in the anti-shipping role.

Operations most suited to these vessels and their support units would be conducted in the westernmost Baltic in amphibious operations areas and within the western narrows. Suited to hit and run tactics, these units worked extremely well with German aircraft in coordinated attacks on surface ships. This unique combinatlon of surface and air power into an integrated anti-shipping attack tactic is made possiDle Dy the sophisticated command, control and communication (C 3) system of each platform. These systems were ideally suited to the local geography, where short distances require rapid communication and allow for immediate reinforcement.

Another aspect of this C 3 advance with less encouraging results, however, was the coordination difficulties experienced while attempting similar operations with Danish units who don't have the real-time link capability o£ the Germans, yet comprise one fourth of the allied Baltic assets. An additional feature of these units is that the FACS were able to perform all maintenance and rearming functions while at sea tended by their support units. These support units could remain concealed in Danish island and coastal areas.

The absence of larger FGN surface units in the Baltic was based upon the belief that without adequate air cover, these units would be restricted to the westernmost areas and the approaches. These areas are considered too restrictive for large ship operations and are also more easily and economically defended by the FAC's.

Dimensions (length / width / depth) 57.6 m / 7.8 m / 2.6 m
Displacement 390 tons
Speed maximum speed of 40 knots (about 74 km / h.)
Propulsion plant 4 x diesel engines with 3,300 kW
Weapons
  • 1x 76 mm OTO Melara gun-
  • 4x anti-ship missiles Exocet MM 38
  • Minelaying capacity
  • 21x Anti-Aircraft body RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile)
  • 2x 12.7 mm heavy machine gun (SMG)
  • Electronic Warfare
  • Equipment
  • Surface Search Radar
  • Navigation Radar
  • Automatic combat and information system for hydrofoils (AGIS)
  • Radar, command and Waffenleitanlage
  • Crew 36 (5 officers)

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