German shipbuilder thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has handed over the fourth and final F125 frigate to the German defense procurement agency (BAAINBw).
Delivery of FGS Rheinland-Pfalz took place on January 28 in a ceremony in Hamburg.
“We have now delivered all of the type F125 ships. The other three vessels are already in service phase and have since proven their technical capabilities and reliability,” TKMS CEO Dr. Rolf Wirtz commented.
“In our view, the innovative and highly complex ships of this class make an important contribution to a navy equipped for the future. We look forward to continuing the good cooperation with the German Navy.”
FGS Rheinland-Pfalz was handed over after its launch in 2017. All of the ships in the class experienced significant delays in the delivery, as they had to undergo a redesign effort to address issues identified during the operation of the first ship in the class. In fact, the amount of issues identified forced the German Navy to return the first-in-class ship to the shipbuilder for rectification.
The majority of issues revolves around the fact that some 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.
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, is currently on its final deployment. The 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.