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German Navy commissions third of four troubled F125 frigates

Third F125 frigate FGS Sachsen Anhalt
German Navy photo of FGS Sachsen Anhalt

Fourteen years after the official start of the F125 frigate project, the German Navy commissioned the third of four ships in the class.

Frigate Sachsen-Anhalt entered service in a ceremony at the country’s major naval base in Wilhelmshaven on May 17. The milestone took place two months after the ship was delivered and five years after it was launched in 2016.

“I am very pleased about the commissioning of the third of four units. We urgently need the unit, for both operational tasking to relieve vessels currently employed, and for the training of our sailors due to the lack of training infrastructure ashore,” Flotilla Admiral Ralf Kuchler, Commander of Einsatzflottille 2, which is in charge of the largest units of the German fleet.

The commissioning of the third unit marked the end of a complicated rectification and trials process that started in 2017, when the lead ship in the class was initially delivered. Shortly after delivery, the navy found so many deficiencies that it had to return the ship to the builders. The rectification process was complicated by the fact that all ships were in the water at the time of the discovery of the issues. The first F125 frigate was eventually redelivered and entered service in June 2019.

The four ships are delivered by the ARGE F125 consortium, composed of thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) and Lürssen, under a contract from 2007.

Also known as the Baden Wurttemberg-class, the 7,200-ton frigates are replacing the eight Bremen-class frigates that have been retired from German Navy service. FGS Lubeck, the sole frigate in the class still in service, will be decommissioned next year. F125 frigates 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.

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.