The German Navy has taken delivery of its third F125 frigate Sachsen-Anhalt from the ARGE F125 consortium, which is delivering four ships in the class under a contract from 2007.
The ARGE F125 consortium is composed of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and Lürssen.
Future FGS Sachsen-Anhalt was delivered on March 30, 2021, in a ceremony in Wilhelmshaven, five years after it was launched in 2016.
Like the US Navy’s Ford-class next-generation aircraft carrier that introduced too many new technologies in a new ship design, Germany’s mammoth frigates have been plagued by issues and delays.
The lead ship in the class – FGS Baden Wurttemberg – was delivered to the navy in 2016 but had to be returned to the shipbuilder due to a range of issues identified during trials. It was redelivered three years later, in 2019.
The shipbuilder says that around 90 percent of the highly complex systems on board the F125 were developed specifically for this new type of ship. The complexity caused problems in the operations room, from where the systems designed to provide a very high degree of automation would be controlled. According to the shipbuilder, the frigates can be operated by a core crew of 126 despite displacing over 7,000 tons.
In addition to automation issues, the frigates will have to sail with a persistent 1.3 degree list to starboard. They are also heavier than initially planned, which will have an effect on the cost of operations and limit the potential for future capability upgrades.
TKMS originally expected to complete all reworks on Sachsen-Anhalt and deliver it last year. The final ship in the class, future FGS Rheinland-Pfalz, is scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year, according to latest plans.
“We have already delivered two ships that have since proven their technical capabilities. We are convinced that the third vessel, the “SACHSEN-ANHALT”, will also be successful. We wish her ‘fair winds and following seas’. Full operational readiness of all ships for the German Navy remains our most important goal,” TKMS COO Dr. Alexander Orellano commented at the delivery ceremony.
The 7,200-ton frigates are replacing the eight Bremen-class frigates that have been retired from German Navy service entirely. FGS Lubeck, the sole frigate in the class still in service, will be decommissioned next year. They measure 149 meters in length and are armed with HARPOON and RAM missiles, a 127 mm naval gun, two 27 mm and five 12.7 mm guns.