Germany returns lead F125 frigate to builder, report
The German defense procurement agency BAAINBw has reportedly returned FGS Baden-Württemberg, the lead ship of German Navy’s new class of F125 frigates, to the Blohm+Voss shipyard.
According to a report in the German Kieler Nachrichten, BAAINBw has requested Blohm+Voss – which is part of the ARGE F125 consortium responsible for delivering the four frigates – to repair all defects identified on the ship during trials.
This is the first time the German defense ministry is returning a ship to the shipbuilder after delivery.
Defects cited in the news report include software and hardware issues, likely the same ones which caused her to miss her commissioning deadline this summer. As Naval Today reported earlier, there are problems with the frigate’s operations room from where the highly-automated ship will be controlled.
This is a complex system as the 7000-tonne frigate (close to the displacement range of a destroyer) will require only half the crew necessary to operate the predecessor Bremen-class frigates.
FGS Baden-Württemberg has been experiencing problems ever since it was delivered to the navy for trials. In addition to hardware and software integration, the frigates have a listing problem. They list 1.3 degrees to starboard and are overweight, an issue that could possibly complicate future upgrade options.
F125 frigates are a new class of ships set to replace the eight Bremen-Class frigates currently in service with the German Navy.
They will be armed with HARPOON and RAM missiles, one 127 mm machine gun, two 27 mm and five 12.7 mm guns. The 150-meter ships will have a complement capacity of 190 persons and a maximum speed of 26 knots.
According to the German Navy, the new frigates will 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.
Future FGS ‘Rheinland-Pfalz’, the fourth and final frigate in the class, was launched at thyssenkrupp Marine Systems’ Hamburg site on May 24, 2017.