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Thread: German F-125: I don't get it...

  1. #1
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    German F-125: I don't get it...

    So...

    I was just reading some stuff on frigates and came across the new german F-125 class. Got curious, went to read the specs. 7000+ tons, wow big frigate, and has, let's see..

    a 5" gun
    2 RAM launchers
    2 27mm guns
    5 .50 cal MGs (wot?...)
    8 harpoons
    2 light/medium helis

    and.. that's it?! On a 7000+ ton hull, that carries only 2 light helis!? What's the point?

    Anyone understands what's the purpose of these ships? Surelly they are not replacing anything...

  2. #2
    Contributor Stan's Avatar
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    it is odd.

    im looking at a new C1 design I've put out there see below. Its running 8 harpoons, a 155mm gun. sylver launcher - A-70 16 cells and 16 quad packed with CAMM. I'm running a phalanx as last ditch. Also operates the NH-90 (smaller than EH-101.)

    I was thinking about a 6.5k to 7000 weigh in.

    This is mine and the F-125 is at the bottom (thanks shipbucket as per usual)




    F-125

    Last edited by Stan; 14 Jun 09, at 21:48.
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    They're being built to operate for very long periods at a time away from Germany, in an expeditionary choke-point escort role (similar to FSC C2 concept). I would imagine that a lot of the space is being taken up by stores. They've also got a novel 2 island system which means important systems are duplicated so that the ship can be commanded from either; from wiki:
    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 deckhouses. The aerials of the phased array radar will be distributed over the two pyramids. This will ensure that the ship remains operational in case of severe damage, such as accidents or enemy action. It will also allow F125 frigates to keep station if needed when something breaks down and no replacement is available.
    I would imagine that the two island system would contribute to a substantial increase in displacement.

    It was originally intended to have a 155mm Monarc main gun and the GMLRS rocket launcher but both of these requirements were dropped due to difficulties in navalising them. I would imagine the absence of the GMLRS means there is room for upgrading the weaponry at some stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev 99 View Post
    They're being built to operate for very long periods at a time away from Germany, in an expeditionary choke-point escort role
    Ok, but escort of what? With RAMs as only SAM, they can't do anti-air? ASUW? Then I hope the helis can carry SSMs, or they'll be in trouble...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev 99 View Post
    I would imagine that a lot of the space is being taken up by stores.
    Nope, not really. Space gets taken up by:
    a) very comfortable crewspace (4-man cabins for enlisted!).
    b) extremely redundant and wear-and-tear resistant machinery.
    c) some modularized equipment.

    Point a) is rather important. The F122 and F123 classes used by Germany were planned for about 120 sea days per year, and already go well past that in current deployments. The F125 class is planned for well in excess of 200 sea days, a number only reached by permanently patrolling OPVs in most navies (Ireland plans 170 days for its OPV fleet for example).

    Quote Originally Posted by Kev 99 View Post
    I would imagine the absence of the GMLRS means there is room for upgrading the weaponry at some stage.
    The space planned in for the GMLRS is now being used for accomodations for the 50 naval infantry soldiers permanently embarked.

    In addition to the outlined equipment, F125 is currently planned to embark a total of twelve AUVs/ROVs, likely both for inspection duties (Seafox I), long-range recon (Sea Otter) and for mine-hunting (Seafox C).
    The helicopters are planned to be capable of fitting prepared autonomous ASW modules, i.e. dipping sonar and torpedoes, or as an alternative ASuW missiles.

    The ship is not planned as an "escort". It's duty will be to form the centerpiece of a maritime interdiction operation, i.e. anti-smuggling/anti-piracy duty as a command ship and base ship. For that role, it will also carry four boats and 50 boarding soldiers, the AUVs will be outfitted accordingly.
    The extreme electronics fit, especially radar and EO/IR is specialized towards surveillance of a large swath of ocean around the ship, in order to form a comprehensive networked sea/air picture of the surrounding area.

    In addition, it will receive a dedicated ASuW and NFS role, using the "future sea/land-target missile" that will replace the Harpoons (likely: RBS-15 Mk4 with 200-km range) and the Vulcano 5" gun that will be tied into the German artillery fire-control system and use extended-range ammunition.

    The real "escort" role is offloaded to other units. F125 will be a command ship, essentially, while providing those capabilities that a regular ASW/AAW escort won't have the space for. A centerpiece for contemporary MIO operations like UNIFIL or EUFOR Atalanta. And it's a 7000-ton hull to make it properly seaworthy. It's planned operation envelope is worldwide.
    Last edited by kato; 15 Jun 09, at 00:17.

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    That's... a lot of money and resources that Germany is investing in such limited ships...

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    You would have thought though that they might consider a VSL of some description. I know what you have said in regards to the type of op they planed, but seriously these are war ships that will be inservice until late 2020's maybe longer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    You would have thought though that they might consider a VSL of some description.
    Well, the ship does have a huge amount of growth potential in the hull with its size. And with MEKO, it's not that much of a problem to install new equipment.

    The thing is that - despite its almost cruiser-level size - a F125 will never act alone. There will always be a F123 or F124 or an equivalent allied escort within the taskforce a F125 commands.
    And if one reads between the lines, the last defense layers of the F125 will be some of the strongest of any ship in the sea, while the ship itself will be built to take even heavy damage such as loss of one of the superstructures and continue functioning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan View Post
    these are war ships that will be inservice until late 2020's maybe longer.
    More like mid 2040s. The first won't enter service until 2014.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    That's... a lot of money and resources that Germany is investing in such limited ships...
    Depends. Sans sales tax, the price is €525 million per ship program cost. As much as a FREMM, or on a similar scale as Norway is planning for its Nansens. Considerably less than a Horizon or Type 45, which would be of similar size.

    And lets not forget that it keeps something like 5.000 jobs afloat for another 6-8 years over the building period of the whole class, and that at least 60% of the program cost will that way float back to the government as taxes anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    Depends. Sans sales tax, the price is €525 million per ship program cost. As much as a FREMM, or on a similar scale as Norway is planning for its Nansens. Considerably less than a Horizon or Type 45, which would be of similar size.
    Perhaps, but either of those can operate on it's own in most situations, whereas the F125 is made to be with others. That alone raises it's indirect operating costs

    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    And lets not forget that it keeps something like 5.000 jobs afloat for another 6-8 years over the building period of the whole class, and that at least 60% of the program cost will that way float back to the government as taxes anyway.
    An important point in all building programms

    Still... you could have made it a bit diferent. If it's trully to be used in such command and support roles, and since it is allready big, Germany could have gone for a flight deck big enough for 2 helis. That would have expanded it's capabilities enourmously.

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    Whats the radar? Apar?

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    Sounds to me like the F-125 Class, as built by Germany, is being "designed for, not fitted with".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kev 99 View Post
    Whats the radar? Apar?
    Essentially yes. An APAR-derived radar spread over both masts.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlvfr View Post
    Perhaps, but either of those can operate on it's own in most situations
    But they won't, in most situations. Pretty much the only roles that any ship in any fleet takes up on its own nowadays is representation, training and patrol. And you can do all that with a F125 too.

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    It sounds essentially like a frigate group leader made to be able to carry most of the duties of a frigate to at least min specs, but to have the radar and communications suite of a taskgroup command ship. It seems a little overblown for that but not hugely so.

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    One could call it a modern approach to a DL/DLG maybe overall. Probably the best description.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    ...and that at least 60% of the program cost will that way float back to the government as taxes anyway.
    Probably not quite that much, maybe 60% of the profit will be taxed, but not the gross cost. When the USGov purchases something, we specifically state for the vendor to not add sales tax to the quote (not sure how it works in your neck of the woods.)

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