The Baden-Württemberg Class: Marathon Runners
(Source: German Navy; issued June 10, 2020)
(Unofficial translation by
While previous German frigates were designed to operate in home waters in a mainly defensive role, the F125 class is larger and has been designed to operate worldwide on long-duration operations, despite having a smaller crew than its predecessors. (GE Navy photo)
With the Baden-Württemberg class frigates, the German Navy will have a total of four of the world's leading technological warships. The first ship in this class, the "Baden-Württemberg", has already entered service.

This frigate class, which has been redesigned from scratch, has emerged from the German operational experience of the past decades, and is designed for the present and future stabilization operations. The range of missions of the F125 class includes, above all, the maritime surveillance in crisis regions worldwide, such as the UNIFIL (United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon) mission in the Middle East or in the anti-piracy operation Atalanta in the Horn of Africa.

The Baden-Württemberg class meets the requirement of being able to remain in use globally and for long periods of time by means of new technical and organizational concepts: intended for intensive use, it can operate for 5,000 operating hours for up to two years, regardless of its home port.

The interval between inspections for these warships is scheduled to be five years and eight months: this is almost a doubling of the operating time and a quadrupling of the maintenance intervals compared to the Navy’s previous frigates.

The reduced maintenance requirements, combined with automation and digitalization on board the ships, make it possible to reduce the crew size from over 200 on the other frigates to 126 officers and ratings on the Baden-Württemberg class. Several 125 crews then replace each other every four months during a long assignment. In this multi-crew concept, eight crews are planned for the four ships of the "Baden-Württemberg" class.

With the frigates of the "Baden-Württemberg" class (F125), the German Navy can also fly the flag over long periods worldwide.

The ships should remain at sea for two years, with several crew changes during this time. Therefore, eight crews of around 120 sailors each are planned for the four ships. So far, the "Baden-Württemberg", after which the class is named, has been delivered to the Navy.

F125 Class: New technology and new concepts

Here are two examples of the innovations in the F125 class compared to other frigates: The frigates have four large rigid inflatable boats of the Buster model. These boats have a range of around 130 kilometers and can carry a maximum of 15 passengers each at a speed of up to 40 knots. They can transport special forces, improve the protection of a civilian convoy against small, fast attackers or evacuate people in dangerous situations.

The five 12.7-millimeter machine guns for defense in the immediate area around the ship are remotely controlled and have their own optical sensors. Their operator sits in the operations center and is no longer exposed to the risk of enemy fire on the upper deck. There is also video surveillance and anti-diver sonar for a safe radius when a Baden-Württemberg class ship is at anchor or in port.

The ships of the Baden-Württemberg class:
-- F222 "Baden-Württemberg", put into service on June 17, 2019
-- F223 "North Rhine-Westphalia", commissioning on June 10, 2020
-- F224 "Saxony-Anhalt", expected to be commissioned in the 1st quarter of 2021
-- F225 "Rhineland-Palatinate", expected to enter service in the 3rd quarter of 2021

Technical specifications
-- Dimensions:
* 149.5 m in length
* 18.8 m wide
* 5.4 m draft
* 7,200 t displacement

-- Propulsion:
* combined diesel-electric and gas turbine drive (CODLAG))
* 1 x gas turbine
* 4 x diesel engines
* 2 x electric motors
* 1 x bow thruster
* 31,600 kW (43,000 hp) total output
* 2x propellers
* Speed: more than 26 knots

-- Sensors:
* 1 x multifunction radar TRS-4D, range more than 250 km,
* Tracking capacity: more than 1,500
* 1 x EK system KORA 18 (electronic reconnaissance)
* 2 x video and infrared target tracking MSP 600
* 1 x 360-degree infrared monitoring SIMONE
* 1 x diving detection sonar
* 2 x navigation radar

-- Weapons:
* 1 x main gun 127mm Lightweight LCG, range more than 80 km kilometer
* 2 x naval machine cannon 27mm MLG
* 5 x heavy machine gun 12.7mm HITROLE N
* 2 x starter for RGM-84 Harpoon sea missile, range more than 220 km / km
* 2 x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) short-range anti-aircraft missile
* 4 x MASS decoy throwing system

-- Crew and others:
-- Regular crew: 126 soldiers
-- Additional staff (e.g. for on-board helicopters, boarding teams): max. 70 soldiers
-- 4 x emergency boats model Buster
-- 2 x onboard hubs


F125 “Nordrhein-Westfalen”: Germany’s Most Modern Frigate Put into Service
(Source Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems; issued June 10, 2020)
On June 10, 2020, the F125 “Nordrhein-Westfalen” was officially commissioned – due to the current corona pandemic, the ceremony took place on a small scale. The “Nordrhein-Westfalen” is the second out of a total of four frigates after the “Baden-Württemberg” to become available to the German Navy. The ships are the most modern and powerful frigates ever built in Germany.

With their highly complex systems and around 28,000 sensors, the completely redesigned F125 class ships feature a very high degree of automation, making it possible to halve the crew size compared to previous frigate classes. The ships can remain in their operational area for up to two years. This will considerably reduce the number of otherwise very long transit journeys. The F125 “Nordrhein-Westfalen” successfully implements the intensive use concept, just like the “Baden-Württemberg”, which has been in service since June 2019.

In addition to the traditional tasks of national and alliance defence, the ships are designed for conflict prevention and crisis management as well as for intervention and stabilization operations on an international scale. Alongside their capability to engage targets on land and water, they also have air defence systems and helicopters specially equipped for submarine hunting.

The contract for the construction of the four frigates entered into force in June 2007. This was followed by the concept, design and detailed construction phase.

Around 90 percent of the highly complex systems on board the F125 were newly developed specifically for this type of ship.

After the “Baden-Württemberg” and the “Nordrhein-Westfalen”, the “Sachsen-Anhalt” and the “Rheinland-Pfalz” will follow in 2021 according to current plans. The new F125 class is named after the first ship and is therefore called the “Baden-Württemberg class.”

ARGE F125 was formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as lead company and the Bremen-based Fr. Lürssen shipyard. The fore ships with corresponding prefitting were built at the Lürssen Group’s shipyard sites in Bremen and Wolgast. The production of the stern ships, the assembly of the ship halves, the further final outfitting as well as the commissioning and testing were carried out under the leadership of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems at the Blohm+Voss shipyard in Hamburg.

Key data for F125:
-- Length: 149 m
-- Width: 18 m
-- Maximum speed: >26 kn
-- Displacement: approx. 7,200 t
-- Crew: max. 190 persons (of which up to 126 are regular crew)

With around 6,000 employees, Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems is one of the world's leading marine companies and a systems provider in submarine and surface shipbuilding as well as maritime electronics and security technology. Over 180 years of history and the constant pursuit of improvements are the basis for the company’s success in constantly setting new standards. Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems offers customized solutions for highly complex challenges in a changing world. The driving forces behind this are the employees of the company, who shape the future of Thyssen Krupp Marine Systems with passion and commitment every day.


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