German Navy’s first F125 frigate reaches new home

FGS Baden-Württenberg shortly before entering Wilhelmshaven. Photo: Bundeswehr/Dennis Kramer
FGS Baden-Württenberg shortly before entering Wilhelmshaven. Photo: Bundeswehr/Dennis Kramer

FGS Baden-Württemberg, the first of four German Navy F 125 frigates, was transferred from the Hamburg shipyard to her new port in the Wilhelmshaven navy base on July 18.

Eight ships had streamers flying topmast high to welcome the latest “family member” entering the base with manned rails and ship horn sounds.

Two 120-strong crews, Alpha and Bravo, will operate the frigate in the following months carrying out weapon- and sensor testing. 99 sailors of the Alpha crew had the special honor of witnessing the important day aboard the first-of-class F125 ship.

Captain at sea Michael Budde (Kapitän zur See is the highest senior officer rank in the German Navy), Commander of the 2nd Flotilla said the Baden Württemberg would now go to a “training camp” for testing and training before she is commissioned into the Navy mid-2017.

F 125 frigates are a new class of ships set to replace the eight Bremen-Class frigates currently in service of the German Navy.

Though classified as frigates, the four ships of the class are comparable to destroyers in size. They are being built by the ARGE F125 consortium which was awarded the contract to build a total of four F125 class ships for the German Navy in 2007.

The consortium is made up from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and the Friedrich Lürssen shipyard in Bremen, which is building the ships in cooperation with TKMS’ Blohm+Voss Shipyards in Hamburg.

According to the German Navy, the new frigates require only half the crew necessary to operate the Bremen-Class frigates. They will be able to stay at sea for up to 24 months and thereby reduce the transit times for the crews. The crews will swap in regular intervals directly in the areas of operations which means that the ships will have to make fewer port visits.

The navy has also developed an alternative crewing model for the F 122 frigates. Namely, the four ships will be operated by eight crews and the deployment duration for any of the crews should not exceed four months. The crews will count approximately 120 persons.

New sensor-weapon concepts are prepared for the enhanced flexibility and scalable control-options of the frigates. The Navy said that almost all weapons on board would be remotely controlled. Passive protection will also be enhanced by automatized surveillance systems.

These ships are the first ones to run the so-called CODLAG propulsion system. The system essentially consists of electric motors which will draw power from diesel generators. The new ships will carry four deployable boats and have two container spots on the middle deck.

Weaponry will consist of HARPOON and RAM missiles, one 127 mm machine gun, two 27 mm and five 12.7 mm guns. The 150-meter ships have a complement capacity of 190 persons and a maximum speed of 26 knots.