Germany issues RFI for new radars for Sachsen-class air defense frigates

Germany’s defense procurement agency BAAINBw is seeking to replace the current SMART-L radars aboard the German Navy’s Sachsen-class (F124) air-defense frigates, according to a request for information (RFI) issued on January 28.

German Navy file photo of FGS Hessen off the coast of South Africa. Photo: PIZ Marine

As stated in the RFI, the goal is to replace the Dutch-built radars currently aboard with more modern ones that will have a broadened scope of engagement and a capability to defend against ballistic missiles.

BAAINBw envisions the construction, delivery and shipboard installation of three long range radars and IFF systems in addition to the establishment of a test and training facility at the German Navy’s Engineering School in Parrow.

RFI deadline is March 5 and a request for proposals is expected to be issued a month later. The new systems are to be fielded between 2020 and 2026, according to the RFI.

With this new capability, frigates Sachsen, Hamburg and Hessen will be able to detect all missiles aimed at the NATO region and report the threat back to the NATO missile defense system headquarters in Ramstein, Germany.

The ships will not be able to shoot the missiles down on their own. Instead, the NATO headquarters will be in charge of deciding which unit or units will be tasked with the destruction of incoming missiles.

This role (of missile interception and destruction) has so far been the responsibility of US Navy’s four forward-deployed Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with the Aegis combat system. The destroyers are stationed in the Naval Base Rota in Spain.