The F123 Brandenburg class primarily carry out anti-submarine warfare, but they also contribute to anti-aircraft warfare defenses, the tactical command of squadrons, and surface-to-surface warfare operations.
As a replacement for the Hamburg Class, in June 1989 the German Navy ordered a new class of frigates, the F123 Brandenburg class, and then completed and commissioned between 1994 and 1996. A total of 4 frigates have been completed, and are still active in the German Navy to this day.
Overall, the Brandenburg class has a length of 138.85m, a beam of 16.7m, and a draft of 4.35m. The frigates have a full load displacement of 3,600 tons. The warship is operated by a crew of 219 personnel including 26 officers.
Brandenburg’s propulsion system is Combined Diesel Or Gas, consisting of two GE 2500 gas turbines, each rated at 33,600hp, and two MTU ZOV956 TB92 diesel engines, each developing 6,568hp, driving two shafts with controllable-pitch propellers. The Brandenburg class can reach a top speed of over 29 knots, with a range of 4,000 nautical miles at 18 knots.
Armament is led by one 76mm OTO-Melara Mk-75 Dual-Purpose turreted deck gun in the A-position. There are also 2 rapid-fire automatic cannons for close-in defense. The warship is outfitted with a bank of Mk 41 Mod 3 Vertical Launch System, housing 16 Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles. Sea Sparrow has semi-active radar terminal guidance and a range of 14.5km. There are also 2 Mk 49 launchers to fire the 21 Rolling Airframe Missile. The ship is armed with two twin launchers for MM38 Exocet surface-to-surface missiles, from MBDA. Exocet has inertial guidance with active radar homing and a range of 42km.
The electronic warfare suite includes the FL 1800 S-II electronic support measures and countermeasures system, developed by DaimlerChrysler Aerospace, now EADS Systems & Defence Electronics. Two Oto Melara SCLAR decoy dispensers are fitted for chaff and infrared flares. At the stern, the vessel can support up to 2 x Sea Lynx navy helicopters and these can be outfitted for the submarine-hunting role to further broaden the capabilities of the Brandenburg.
In short, Brandenburg’s capabilities go far beyond its intended sub-hunting role for it can participate in fleet defense, airspace denial and take on enemy surface ships and submarines as required. For a frigate-type warship, the multi-mission approach has always been the call of the day. Before the arrival of the more advanced Sachsen-class ships, the Bradenburg-class was the most advanced surface warship in the German Navy.