Germany is planning to deploy a frigate on a rather atypical deployment to the Indo-Pacific in early May, testing its navy’s ability to operate further away from the home turf.
The brunt of German Navy’s operations takes part in the Baltic and North Seas as part of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1), and the Mediterranean and Black Seas with SNMG2.
Should all go according to plan, and the deployment does not get affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, Sachsen-class air-defense frigate FGS Hamburg will deploy from its Wilhelmshaven homeport on May 7.
The frigate and her crew will first take part in a missile-firing exercise off the coast of Norway, before they start a five-month deployment that will take them to the Indian Ocean. Once there, FGS Hamburg will be part of the French-led Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) taking place at the end of June in Réunion.
IONS incorporates 23 Indian Ocean nations and 9 observers, including Germany. After IONS, the frigate is set to take part in the French Navy-led exercise Defram.
All of this is expected to be followed by a trip to Australia and visits to various ports in the Indo-Pacific. Joint exercises are also planned.
The German Navy did not say when the FGS Hamburg is expected to return home. FGS Hamburg is one of three F124 frigates in the German Navy, equipped with the SMART-L long-range radar for defense against stealth aircraft and missiles. The frigates employ ESSM surface-to-air and SM-2 Block IIIA area defense missiles.