The F125 Baden-Wurttemberg-class frigates are a series of new German Navy frigates, which were designed and built to replace the aging German warships.
German media reported that FGS Baden-Wurttemberg F222, the lead ship of the German Navy’s new F125 class frigates, officially entered service in a ceremony on June 17. The F125 Baden-Wurttemberg-class frigates are a series of new German Navy frigates, which were designed and built to replace the aging German warships. This is a frigate class has the highest displacement of any class of frigate worldwide.
It is expected that the frigates of the Baden-Wurttemberg class will soon replace Bremen-class surface combatants, having served in the German Navy since 1982. In contrast to the Bremen class, which were built with Cold War-era scenarios in mind, the Baden-Wurttemberg-class frigates will have much enhanced land-attack capabilities. This will better suit the frigates in possible future peacekeeping and peacemaking missions. For such reasons, the frigates will also mount non-lethal weapons. The German Navy announced that the F125 would be armed with land attack systems and air warfare point-defence equipment but would not be equipped with sonar.
FGS Baden-Wurttemberg, the first ship in the class began construction in May 2011. Delivery of the ship was carried out in 2016. However, it was returned to the manufacturer due to a technical rectification. Later, the frigate entered the German Navy’s service in June 2019 as mentioned above, over two years later than originally planned.
Compared to the Bremen-class, the Baden-Wurttemberg is heavier, more modular and has broader support for automation. The warship has a displacement of 7,200 tonnes and reach 490.6 feet in length with a beam measuring 61.7 feet and a draught down to 16.4 feet. F222 is designed in stealth technology, very difficult to detect: slab siding, enclosed sections, clean lines and minimal protrusions. The bridge section is sat overlooking the bow of the ship and the main mast is enclosed and integrated with the forward superstructure as normal. A second mast is aft of midships with the smoke funnels being enclosed and integrated into the aft superstructure.
The aerials of the Cassidian TRS-4D Active electronically scanned array radar will be distributed over the two pyramids. This will ensure that the ship remains operational in case of severe damage, such as accidents or enemy action. The frigate is equipped with a 360° infrared surveillance system, which is installed on the front surface of the tower mast at a position just lower than the air and surface search radar. On the stern is a helicopter flight deck and a full-service hangar, servicing two NH-90 helicopters at the same time, which each have a range of 790km.
The frigate has a standard crew of 110 and can accommodate up to 190 when needed. Compared to the previous generation frigates, the number of crews has decreased approximate 50%, which is achieved due to the ship’s high level of automation. In addition, this frigate can carry four armed boats provide the necessary transport.
The heart of this frigate is the combined diesel electric and gas electrical propulsion system with a 20 megawatt General Electric LM 2500 gas turbine, four MTU 20V 4000 M53B diesel engines providing 2.9 megawatt each and two Siemens electric motors providing 4.7 megawatt each. Giving the ship a maximum speed of 26 knots, an operating range of 4,000 nautical miles.
The FGS Baden-Wurttemberg is equipped with ten guns, ranging from 12.7mm to 127mm for defence against air and surface targets. The main armament on the ship was an Oto Melara 127mm gunboat with a standard range of 23 km, or increased to 100 km when fired with guided VULCANO ammunition. There are also two 27mm automatic guns on the ship, five 12.7mm remote controlled heavy-machine guns, two 12.7mm manually controlled heavy machine guns.
The FGS Baden-Wurttember has two 21 cell MK49 launchers armed with the Raytheon RIM-116 rolling airframe missile. The rolling airframe missile is a lightweight, infrared-homing, surface-to-air missile for deployment against incoming anti-ship cruise missiles. The forward launcher is installed immediately forward of the bridge and the aft launcher is installed on the roof of the helicopter hangar just ahead of the helicopter deck.
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The strongest weapons of the FGS Baden-Wurttemberg are 8 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles are installed on the missile deck, forward of the funnel. The missiles have a high-subsonic speed and a range of up to 130km. However, this was only a temporary solution until the RBS 15 MK4 joint sea and land attack missile becomes available.
Some military experts commented that F222’s armament was not commensurate with a large warship. The most significant omission is that the ship does not have an integrated sonar system as well as an anti-submarine weapon. In response to enemy submarines, the vessel only relies on sonar released from the NH-90 helicopter, intermittent like the integrated sonar on the hull.The second weakness is anti-aircraft weapons. A warship with a displacement up to 7,200 tons but only installed low-range anti-aircraft missile RIM-116, incapable of creating a remote protection umbrella, making the ship face great risk from air attacks. However, this weakness may soon be overcome, the building block in front of the bridge may be vacant to wait for long-range missile integration, as this ship uses a very flexible modular structure.