Tuesday, August 22, 2006

That isn't a Frigate, that my friend is a Pocket Cruiser

First the pitch;
F125 is the project name for the Type 125 class of frigates, currently in development for the German Navy by ARGE F125, a joint-venture of Thyssen-Krupp and L├╝rssen.
Major design goals are reduced radar, infrared and acoustic signatures (stealth technology), something that was introduced to the German Navy with the Sachsen class frigate and was further developed with the Braunschweig class corvette, the first ship nearing completion.

Other important requirements are long maintenance periods: It should be able to deploy F125 class frigates for up to two years away from homeports with an average sea operation time of more than 5000 hours per year (that's nearly 60%). For this reason, a combined diesel-electric and gas arrangement has been chosen for the machinery. This allows the replacement of large and powerful diesel engines for propulsion and sets of smaller diesel generators for electric power generation with a pool of med-sized diesel generators, reducing the number of different engines.

To enhance survivability of the frigates, important systems are laid out in the two island principle, i.e. present at least twice at different places within the ship. This is also visible in the superstructures, which are split in two larger pyramidal deck houses. The arials of the phased array radar will be distributed over the two pyramids. This does not only ensure, the ships remains operational in case of larger damage because of accidents or enemy action, it also allows F125 frigates to keep station if needed when something breaks down and no replacement is available.
Check out what she is packing.
# Armament:

* 8 anti-ship missiles, either RGM-84 Harpoon or RBS 15 Mk3
* 1 navalized MLRS, 12 rockets with reloads
* 2 RAM surface-to-air missile launcher/CIWS, 21 cells each
* 1 155 mm gun, based on the turret of the PzH 2000. This has been tested previously in the MONARC project.
* 2 27 mm MLG 27 autocannon
* 5 12.7 mm heavy machine guns
* Water cannons

# Other equipement:

* 2 search lights
* Submarine ROVs
* 4 11 m dinghies, over 40kts fast
* Space for two 6.1 m container

# Hangar facility: 2 MH-90 helicopters
# Complement: 160 (including 50 KSK/commando)
Look again at the gun. Look familiar?

Check out the picture here. Now, look at her measurements:
Length: 139m
Beam: 18 m
Draft: 5 m
Now our Arleigh Burke's:
Length: 155 m (Flight IIA)
Beam: 18 m
Draft: 9.3 m
Shorter shallower draft. Focus of the design is redundancy (fight hurt), firepower, multi-mission diversity and a evolutionary process founded on proven affordability. Limited AAW, but look at what you get out of it.

The Germans once again have met the challenge and are building a ship pound-for-pound more impressive than most. I look forward to seeing her at sea trials and the per unit costs. Also would be interesting to see what per-unit costs would be if you built 40 units? What if you put in a 10 meter plug an put in an aft gun? What would be the cost/trade-offs to do that? MRLS reloads internal or external?

Pocket Cruiser.

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