The German Navy’s K130 Braunschweig-class corvettes are designed to perform surveillance and surface-attack missions.
After World War II, in response to a possible conflict with the Warsaw Pact, the German Navy developed a large force of missile ships, nearly 40 ships that have served in the German Navy. During this period, countries around the world tended to build smaller warships due to their cost advantages and the advent of missile technology and advanced aircraft. These were small, light but powerful corvettes. These ships were ideally suited when it was necessary to attack Polish, East German and Soviet navies in the Baltic. When it is necessary to protect the commercial traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar, prevent Hizbollah from shipping weapons, or hunt down pirates and terrorists off the coast of Yemen and Djibouti. Over time these ships were completely outdated and unable to meet new challenges after the September 11 event.
Due to alliance obligations, the Federal Republic of Germany was increasingly involved in international anti-terrorism operations. In December 2001, Germany placed an order for five K130 corvettes based on the MEKO design. The five Corvettes so far form the 1st corvette squadron at the naval base in Warnemunde. The ships replaces the smaller Type 143A Gepard class fast attack craft. The K130 Braunschweig class warships are one of the most modern ship types of the German Navy, and the F260 Braunschweig is the lead ship of this class. The first ship of the new Corvette class was laid on December 1, 2004 and was handed over to the German Armed Forces on January 29, 2008.
The F260’s design idea was based on the development of the MEKO frigates. The vessel is listed at 1,840 tons displacement, this corvette is small enough to be maneuverable for costal patrol sorties but was designed large enough to content with “blue water” ocean-bound missions as well.
This warship was designed with a sleek, modern look and stealth properties, low draft, and highly automated weapons and defence systems to support littoral warfare and particularly for operations of a multi-national crisis reaction force. German corvettes tend to vent at the sides of the ship, mostly because the area behind the engines is used otherwise. In the F260, it was “discovered” that the exhaust damaged the paint, so the corrosion-protection black paint was eventually drawn higher behind the exhaust ports. The exhaust is cooled with seawater to a manageable level, also automatically making the gasses denser so they stay at the water line.
The overall length of the ship is 89.12m with a beam of 13.28m wide, the draft is 3.4m, she has an endurance of seven days or, with tender support, 21 days. Due to high level of automation and integration, it allows the ship to be operated by a crew of 50.
The F260 is fitted with two MTU 20V 1163 TB 93 diesel engines producing 14.8MW, driving two controllable-pitch propellers. This make the ship can travel at a maximum speed 26 knots and a range out to 4,000 nautical miles with cruise speed at 15 knots.
The ship has a superstructure with two bridges containing radar and sensors. The devices, displays and screens on the bridge are combined in a compact system according to modern ergonomic principles. The Combat Direction System is the “brain” of the F260, and is similar to the Aegis combat system. It controls all weapons and sensors and processes the data of its own sensors and external sources fully automatically, creates the situation image and displays it.
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On-board sensors include Cassidian TRS-3D multifunction Passive electronically scanned array C-Band radar. This is a 3D multi-mode maritime radar capable of automatic detection and tracking of all types of air and surface threats, including the early detection of low flying or fast moving threats such as missiles, fast boats, unmanned air vehicles and drones. The ship is also equipped with two navigational radar, MSSR 2000i IFF system, MIRADOR electro-optical sensors, UL 5000 K ESM suite, together with link 11 and link 16 tactical communications.
Four heavy anti-ship missiles of the Swedish-German type RBS15 Mk3 form the main armament of the corvette. They are mounted amidships in launch containers on the deck. The Fire and Forget weapon, which is also suitable for fighting stationary land targets, has a range of more than 200 kilometers and is controlled by an active radar seeker as well as by GPS and an inertial navigation system.
The 76mm Super Rapid naval gun from Oto Melara is located on the front deck in front of the RAM launcher, which has a rate of fire of 120 rounds a minute. The effective range against sea targets is 8000m, against air targets up to 5000m. The corvette also carries two 27mm Mauser guns.
For next-range defense of the F260 is the missile system Rolling Airframe Missile. The ship has two rotatable RAM starters, each with 21 cells for RIM-116 missiles, one between the turret and the bridge, the other aft of the flight deck.The helipad at the stern is 24 meters long and 12.6 meters wide. It is designed for the landing of a 12t helicopter such as Westland Lynx or NH90. The hangar can not accommodate helicopters, but is designed to house two Camcopter S-100 unmanned helicopter. The ships of Braunschweig-class was to be the first naval ship in the world to be fitted with 2 drones for area reconnaissance and monitoring beyond the radar horizon.