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Top 10 Frigates

   Most modern navies operate frigates. These ships are smaller and less expensive to build and maintain than cruisers and destroyers. Due to this fact frigates are usually the most numerous combatants in naval fleets and form the backbone for most navies worldwide. These ships are typically used alongside larger battleships, such as destroyers and aircraft carriers.

   So which is the most powerful frigate in the world? Which is the greatest modern frigate and why? Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of firepower, offensive and defensive capabilities, size, displacement, sensors, and some other features.

   Currently top 10 most deadliest frigates in the world are these:

 

 

Top 10 frigates

Nr.1 Admiral Gorshkov class (Russia)

 

   The Admiral Gorshkov is a class of multi-role frigates. It is a successor to the Burevestnik class (Western reporting name Krivak class). Currently these new warships is one of the most capable frigates in the world. As of 2016 four of these frigates are under construction and two more are planned. The lead ship, Admiral Gorshkov, is planned to be commissioned with the Russian Navy in 2016. The Russian Navy has a requirement for 20-30 of such frigates to fully replace the surviving Krivak class frigates and Sovremenny class destroyers. It will become the mainstay of the future Russian fleet. It is also proposed for export.

   The Admiral Gorshkov class is designed to perform multiple roles, such as perform long-range attacks against surface targets and ships, conduct anti-submarine warfare, carry out escort missions and be deployed in a variety of situations that a general frigate class would not be able to fulfill. In some cases such multi-role frigates can even substitute deployment of larger destroyers. While many other frigates are focused on specific tasks, such as anti-air warfare, or anti-submarine warfare.

   This class of guided missile frigates incorporate best weapons and sensors that the Russian industry can produce.

   The Admiral Gorshkov class is equipped with a 16-cell Vertical Launch System (VLS) for a mix of Kalibr-NK land attack cruise missiles (range 2 500 km), P-800 Oniks anti-ship missiles (range 300-500 km) and 91RTE2 anti-submarine missiles (missile drops torpedo 50 km away).

   There is another 32-cell VLS for medium-range air defense missiles. It uses the same interceptor missiles as the S-400 land-based air defense system. These missiles are designed for direct impact have a range of 40 and 120 km.

   Further anti-submarine/anti-shipping capabilities are provided via two quadrupple 330-mm torpedo launchers for unique Paket-NK torpedoes. These can engage both enemy submarines, as well as incoming torpedoes, thus serving a dual role.

   There is a 130-mm A-192M gun. Last ditch defense is provided by two Palash Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWS), mounted at the rear. These defense systems are fitted with 30-mm rapid-firing Gatling guns and 8 short-range surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) each.

   The Admiral Gorshkov class frigates can accommodate a single Kamov Ka-27, or similar naval helicopter.

 

 

Best frigates in the world

Nr.2 Sachsen class (Germany)

 

   The Sachsen class is of air warfare frigates was developed in Germany. Design of the Sachsen class is  based on that of the Brandenburg class. The class comprises of three frigates. Their main role is fleet defense from missiles and air attacks. Secondary roles are anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.

   In terms of displacement and firepower the Sachsen class frigates are more closer to destroyers. Actually these warships have much ship platform commonality with the Dutch De Zeven Provincien class anti-air warfare destroyers. Most likely that these ships are designated frigates for political reasons.

   Mounted round the top of the superstructure are the four antennae of the Thales advanced phased-array air/surface radar. It provides 360° target detection, tracking and engagement. There is also the Thales SMART-L radar for long-range aerial surveillance. It can detect and track ballistic missiles at a range of more than 400 km. It is capable of tracking 1 500 targets simultaneously and provides early warning.

   The primary surface-to-air missile armament is carried in the 32-cell vertical-launch system: this carries a mix of Standard SM-2 missiles (range 150 km) as well as RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles (range 50 km) in designated cells. Local defense against air attack is entrusted to two 21-cell Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) launchers with RIM-116 short-range surface-to-air missiles.

   Anti-ship capability is vested in RGM-84D Harpoon missiles. There are two quadrupple launchers with a total of 8 anti-ship missiles. There is also a 76-mm OTO Melara dual-purpose gun. Also there are two Rheinmetall 27-mm guns in remote weapon stations.

   Anti-submarine capability is provided by two helicopters and two triple 324-mm mountings for EUROTORP MU90 lightweight torpedoes. For submarine detection it has got an Atlas bow-mounted sonar, as well as towed array sonar.

   Sensors and armament of the Sachen class are largely similar to that of the Dutch De Zeven Provincien class and Danish Iver Huitfeldt class. However the German Sachsen class has a small advantage in having hangars for two helicopters, compared to the single hangar on the other two. The Sachsen class can accommodate NFH 90 or Sea Lunx Mk.88A helicopters.

 

 

One of the best frigates in the world

Nr.3 Iver Huitfeldt class (Denmark)

 

   The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates of the Danish navy are based on the same hulls as Absalon class support ships. This feature allowed to considerably reduce design and construction costs of these new frigates, and maintain commonality. The main role of the Iver Huitfeldt class is air defense. Three ships of this class were built. The lead ship was commissioned with the Royal Danish Navy in 2012.

   The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates have a somewhat unusual layout and look a bit bulky for this class of ships. Nevertheless they pack a formidable punch. Most anti-air warfare sensors and equipment are similar to the German Sachsen class frigates and Dutch De Zeven Provincien class destroyers. Though, the Iver Huitfeldt is a less capable warship, than those mentioned above.

   The Iver Huitfeldt class frigates have a modular mission payload system. The same system is used one the Absalon class support ships. This frigate has slots for six modules. Its main air defense weapons are Standard SM-2 (or SM-6) missiles, as well as RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles. This warship also carries Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

   This frigate has a hangar and can accommodate NFH 90, Westland Lynx Mk.90B, or similar helicopter, which provides additional anti-submarine warfare capability. Recently Danish Navy ordered Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters.

   The Iver Huitfeldt class has a diesel-only propulsions system. It is powered by four MTU 20V M70 diesel engines, developing a combined output of 44 000 shp. The power is delivered to 2 shafts. Also there is a single bow thruster. These Danish frigates are very fuel efficient. At lower speeds it is capable of traveling 16 700 km (9 000 nautical miles). It is enough to travel from Denmark to the United States and back, while there will still be fuel left in the tanks.

   The Iver Huitfeldt class is slightlty inferior to the German Sachsen class frigates. It lacks a third layer missile defense and carries less torpedoes. The Danish frigate has got only hull mounted sonar, but no tower array sonar for submarine detection. Also the German frigate carries two helicopters. Furthermore the Danish frigate has inferior diesel-only propulsion system, which looses in terms of performance to modern Combined Diesel or Gas (CODOG) propulsions. However its air defense radars are more capable than Aegis system of the Alvaro de Bazan class.

 

 

List of top 10 frigates

Nr.4 Alvaro de Bazan class (Spain)

 

   The Alvaro de Bazan is a class of Spanish anti-air warfare frigates, developed for escort duties. Spain desired to create a technologically advanced warship, which would also feature a high degree of national industrial input. A total of 5 Alvaro de Bazan class frigates are in service with the Spanish Navy.

   The Alvaro de Bazan is a class of Spanish anti-air warfare frigates, developed for escort duties. Spain desired to create a technologically advanced warship, which would also feature a high degree of national industrial input. A total of 5 Alvaro de Bazan class frigates are in service with the Spanish Navy.

   In terms of displacement and firepower the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class frigates are more closer to destroyers. Actually these warships have much ship platform commonality with the Dutch De Zeven Provincien class anti-air warfare destroyers. Most likely that these ships are designated frigates for political reasons.

   The Alvaro de Bazan is fitted with US Aegis world class air defense system. This system is in service with the US Navy. The Aegis is also present on Japan's Kongo class, South Korea's Sejong the Great class. It controls the detection and engagement of hostile air, surface and submarine threats. It can detect air targets at a range of more than 300 km. The system can track hundreds of targets simultaneously. The system controls the detection and engagement of hostile air, surface and submarine threats.

   The surface-to-air system is the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM). Area air defense is also provided by the Standard SM-2MR missiles. The Alvaro de Bazan is also armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles. Additionally, the vessels are fitted with a 127-mm gun, torpedoes, and some other weapons.

   The Spanish Alvaro de Bazan became a base for the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen class or frigates and Australian Hobart class of air warfare destroyers.

 

 

The best Frigates

Nr.5 Aquitaine class (France)

 

   The French Aquitaine class warships were developed as a part of Franco-Italian multi-mission frigate program. The same program led to development of the Italian Carlo Bergamini class. So far France has ordered 8 of these warships. The lead ship was commissioned in 2012. The last one is planned to be commissioned in 2022. Once in service, the Aquitaine class frigates will form a backbone of the French Navy. Two more ships were built for Egypt and Morocco.

   These French Aqutaine class ships are called multi-mission frigates, but are clearly destroyers. They are being called so for political reasons. The Aquitaine class vessels are capable of carrying out various missions, such as anti-air warfare, anti-submarine warfare and even attack land of targets located more than 1 000 km away. A total of 6 French warships will be optimized for anti-submarine warfare role and 2 optimized for air defense role. Both export ships are optimized for anti-submarine role.

   The Aquitaine class warships have a number of design features to reduce their radar cross section and noise levels. These French ships a stealthier than many other frigates. Also these are hi-tech ships with extreme automation levels.

   The primary radar is the Thales Herakles multi-purpose passive Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar. It can track surface and air targets at a range of up to 250 km. It also provides fire control for the Aster surface-to-air missiles.

   There is a 16-cell VLS, loaded with Aster 15 medium-range air defense missiles. These missiles have a range of 35 km. A total of 16 missiles are carried.

   Land attack capability is provided by another 16-cell VLS, loaded with SCALP Naval land attack cruise missiles. These have a range of more than 1 000 km. A total of 16 of these missiles are carried and are ready to use. Only few other frigates in the world pack such a formidable punch.

   Anti-ship capability is provided by two quad launchers with MM.40 Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missiles. These can engage hostile ships at ranges of over 200 km.

   There is a single OTO Melara Super Rapid 76 mm dual-purpose gun. This rapid firing weapon has a range of up to 15 km and can engage surface ships, air targets and bombard land targets. Also there are three Nexter Narwhal 20B remote weapon systems with 20 mm cannons. These are used to engage close-in surface threats.

   These frigates have both hull and towed array sonars for submarine detection. There are two twin 324-mm tubes for EUROTORP MU90 lightweight torpedoes. These can be used against submarines, as well as surface ships.

   There is a hangar for a single NH90 NFH helicopter. It is used for long-range anti-submarine and anti-ship missions.

   The Italian Carlo Bergamini class warships, developed as part of the same program are larger, have superior weapons and carry two helicopters instead of one, but lack land attack cruise missiles.

 

 

The best frigate in the world

Nr.6 Carlo Bergamini class (Italy)

 

   The Italian Carlo Bergamini class warships were developed as a part of Franco-Italian FREMM multi-mission frigate program. The same program led to the development of the French Aquitaine class. Even though resulting Italian Carlo Bergamini class and French Aquitaine class ships look different, they use many common subsystems. The Carlo Bergamini class bears strong resemblance with the Horizon class, which was another joint Franco-Italian program.

   These Italian Carlo Bergamini class warships are clearly destroyers, but being called frigates for political reasons. There are two variants of the Carlo Bergamini class. One of them are general purpose frigate, that are equally good at all aspects of naval warfare, while the other ships are optimized for anti-submarine warfare role. These have enhanced submarine hunting features, but at a cost of reduced land attack and anti-ship capabilities.

   These Italian Carlo Bergamini class warships are clearly destroyers, but being called frigates for political reasons. There are two variants of the Carlo Bergamini class. One of them are general purpose frigate, that are equally good at all aspects of naval warfare, while the other ships are optimized for anti-submarine warfare role. These have enhanced submarine hunting features, but at a cost of reduced land attack and anti-ship capabilities. These Italian warships have enhanced stealth features, including reduced radar cross section and noise levels.

   The primary radar is the Selex MFRA multi-functional active phased array radar. It can detect air targets at a range of more than 400 km. It also provides fire control for air defense missiles.

   There is a 16-cell VLS for Aster-15 and Aster-30 surface-to-air missiles. The Aster-15 has a range of around 30 km, while the Aster-30 have a range of around 120 km. However this loadout of 16 missiles is comparatively small for such a large warship.

  "General purpose" variants of the Carlo Bergamini class are fitted with a single Otobreda 127 mm gun and a single OTO Melara 76 mm gun. "Anti-submarine" variants have two OTO Melara 76 mm guns. The 76 mm guns are dual-purpose weapons. These rapid-firing guns use guided shells and can engage surface, air and land targets. These also act as close-in weapon systems for last ditch defense against incoming missiles. Also there are two 25-mm remotelly-controlled cannons that are used to engage small surface threats.

   The "general purpose" variant is armed with four OTOMAT anti-ship missiles. These have a range of around 200 km. The ASW variant is armed with four MILAS anti-submarine missiles, that drop torpedo remotely from the ship.

   Also there are two tripple launchers for EUROTORP MU90 lightweight torpedoes. These are present on both "general purpose" and "anti-submarine" variants.

   These Italian warships have a double hangar for helicopters and can accommodate either two NH90, or one NH90 and one AW101. These are used for search and rescue, utility operations, long-range anti-submarine and anti-ship warfare.

   The Carlo Bergamini class have an advanced Combined Diesel-Electric and Gas (CODLAG) propulsion system. For normal operation the ships use a single General Electric LM2500+G4 gas turbine, developing 42 900 shp. For slow-speed and quiet anti-submarine operations the ships use hybrid electric propulsion with two 2.5 MW electric motors which are connected to the propeller shafts. These are powered by 4 diesel generators. Maximum speed is 29 knots (55 km/h). Maximum range is 6 700 nautical miles (12 300 km) at 15 knots (28 km/h). So Italian vessels are slightly faster and have longer range than their French counterparts.

   Overall the Italian Carlo Bergamini class warships are larger and are superior in many respects to the French Aquitaine class. However the Italian vessels do not carry any land attack cruise missiles, that are present on the French frigates.

 

 

The best Frigate

Nr.7 Fridtjof Nansen class (Norway)

 

   The Fridtjof Nansen is a Norwegian class of multi-role frigates, based on the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class. A total of five ships were built in Spain for the Norwegian Navy. The first one was commissioned in 2006. All of these frigates are named after the famous Norwegian explorers.

   These general purpose frigates have both anti-submarine, anti-ship, land attack and air defense capabilities. A number of design features were incorporated in order to reduce the radar cross section of these frigates, and thus increase their survivability. However the Fridtjof Nansen class ships are not true stealth vessels.

   These Norwegian frigates have very advanced weapons and sensors. The ships' weapons feature the Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics AN/SPY-1F AEGIS radar. It is a smaller and less capable version of the AN/SPY-1D AEGIS radar, used on the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class frigates, American Arleigh Burke class destroyers, and some other warships. The multi-function phased array radar can detect air targets at a range of around 160 km and track hundreds of targets simultaneously. The system controls the detection and engagement of hostile air, surface and submarine threats.

   There is an 8-cell VLS for RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM). These air defense missiles have a range of 50 km. The VLS holds 32 missiles. The second similar VLS can be fitted for a total capacity of 64 missiles. However these Norwegian warships do not carry any long-ranged surface-to-air missiles.

   Anti-ship and land attack capability is provided by eight Kongsberg Naval Strike Missles (NSMs). These cruise missiles have a range of over 185 km and carry a 125 kg warhead.

   There is a single OTO Melara 76-mm Super Rapid dual-purpose naval gun. It can engage both surface and air targets. Fridtjof Nansen class can be equipped with a more powerful Otobreda 127-mm gun, in place of the 76-mm gun.

   These Norwegian ships have got a hull-mounted sonar, as well as towed sonar for detection of hostile submarines. There are two dual 324 mm torpedo tubes for Sting Ray torpedoes, that provide anti-submarine capability.

   The Fridtjof Nansen class frigate can accommodate a single NH 90 helicopter, which is used for remote anti-submarine and anti-ship roles. Norwegian Navy ordered 6 of these helicopters to operate on their frigates.

   These Norwegian warships have a Combined Diesel and Gas (CODAG) propulsion. It uses two Bazan Bravo 12V diesel engines developing 6 000 shp each. These are used for economical cruising. There is also a single General Electric LM2500 gas turbine, developing 25 700 shp. It is used for high speed cruise. The power is delivered to two shafts. Maximum speed of the Fridtjof Nansen class is at least 26 knots (48 km/h). Range is 8 300 km (4 500 nautical miles) at 16 knots (30 km/h).

 

 

Best 10 Frigates

Nr.8 Shivalik class (India)

 

   The Shivalik class warships are one of the newest surface combatants of the Indian Navy. The class consists of three ships. The first one was commissioned in 2010. These are the first Indian-built warships with enhances stealth features. Many extraneous shapes and protrusions were eliminated from the design in order to minimize the radar cross section. Though these frigates are still not yet true stealth vessels.

   Due to their size and displacement the Shivalik class ships could be even considered as destroyers. However their armament is too light for a true destroyer. Still though these warships are very capable and are currently among the most deadly frigates of the world.

   These frigates have a strong anti ship and land attack capability. These are armed with a universal 8-cell VLS for BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missiles and Klub-N anti-ship cruise missile. The BRAHMOS missiles can engage sea or land targets at a range of 290 km, while the Klub-N anti-ship missiles have a range of 440-660 km.

   There is a single-arm reloadable launcher for Shtil-1 (SS-N-12) air defense missiles. These missiles have a 40 km range. A magazine holds 24 of these air defense missiles and it takes 6 seconds for the missile to reload. This particular system is badly outdated. All modern warships are fitted with vertical launch systems for their primary surface-to-air missiles. Also the Shtil-1 launcher has a limited firing arc and can engage targets only to the front of the ship. The Shivalik class frigates are also fitted with two 8-cell VLS launchers for Barak-1 air defense missiles. It is a much more modern weapon, used for short-range defense against sea-skimming anti-ship missiles, as well as other threats. A total of 32 of these missiles are carried.

   Radars of the Shivalik class can detect air targets at a range of over 350 km. However the fire control radar is of older generation. So these frigates can engage simultaneously only 6 air targets. So these Indian warships are stronger in land attack and anti-ship role, rather than air defense.

   There are two 533-mm tubes for heavyweight torpedoes for engaging submarines and surface warships.

   These frigates can carry two helicopters. These may be either indigenous Dhruv light utility helicopter, British Westland Sea King anti-submarine or multi-purpose helicopter, or Russian Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopter.

 

 

Top 10 Frigates

Nr.9 Type 054A class (China)

 

   The Chinese Type 054A class frigate (NATO reporting name Jiangkai II) is an improvement on the existing Type 054 class. Until 2016, 21 of these modern vessels have been commissioned. Three more and under construction and two more planned.

   Vessels of this class were built primarily for with air-defense, although they can perform anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare missions. Their radar can track up to 40 targets simultaneously at a maximum range of approximately 120 km.

   These vessels represent a significant improvement over the original Type 054 for several reasons. The Type 054A has a lighter main gun, improved CIWS, better sensors, and more Surface-to-Air Missiles (SAMs). In addition, the HQ-16 SAMs fitted on Type 054As have an improved range of 50 km and can attack targets from all angles.

   Located amidships are two quadruple anti-ship/land-attack missile launchers that can attack targets up to 250 km distant. Towards the front is a dual-purpose 76-mm gun turret, which can fire effectively at 120 rounds per minute at targets 10 km distant.

   ASW armament is composed of two torpedo tubes, sonar, ASW rockets with a range of 1 200 m, and a helicopter.

   With survival in mind, the Type 054A is a somewhat “stealthy” design built of radar absorbent material with clean lines free of clutter resulting in the least possible radar return.

   Overall, these ships are highly capable escorts, with advanced radar and processing electronics, representing China’s increasing ability to project power in highly dangerous areas. Some sources report, that an improved Type 054B class is being developed in China.

 

 

Best Frigate

Nr.10 Admiral Grigorovich class (Russia)

 

   It is the latest class of frigates, ordered by the Russian Navy. It is referred as Krivak IV class in the West. It is based on the Talwar class frigates, that were built in Russia for the Indian Navy. So far six ships have been ordered. The first of the class, the Admiral Grigorovich, was commissioned in 2016.

   These are general-purpose frigates. Their functions are air defense, escorting of other warships and anti-submarine warfare. Some measures were taken to reduce a radar cross section of these new Russian warships. Though these frigates are not true stealthy vessels in any way. Also the Admiral Grigorovich class warships are not as powerful as many contemporary general-purpose frigates.

   Most distinguishable weapon of these Russian frigates is an 8-cell VLS for Kalibr (SS-N-27 Sizzler) supersonic cruise missiles. These missiles can engage ships and land targets. The same VLS can also fire Oniks (SS-N-26 Strobile) anti-ship cruise missiles, that have a range of up to 600 km.

   Air defense is provided by three 12-cell VLS for Shtil-1 (SS-N-12) air defense missiles. So a total of 36 missiles are ready to use. These missiles have a range of 40 km. Last ditch defense is provided by two Kashtan CIWS. Each of these gun/missile systems uses tow 30-mm rotary cannons and eight 9M311 short-range air defense missiles. The same missiles are used on Tunguska. There is also a 100-mm A-190 dual-purpose gun, which can engage air targets, surface ships, and bombard land targets. This gun has a maximum range of over 20 km and fires at a rate of up to 80 rounds per minute.

   There are two twin 533-mm torpedo tubes for heavyweight torpedoes. These can be used to engage enemy warships and submarines. Also there is a single 12-barrel RBU-6000 anti-submarine rocket launcher in front of the bridge. Reload rockets are stored below the deck.

   These warships can accommodate a single helicopter. It can be a Ka-27 anti-submarine warfare helicopter, or Ka-31 airborne early warning helicopter.

   The Admiral Grigorovich class warships have a Combined Gas or Gas (COGAG) propulsion system. However construction of these ships was postponed due to problems with the engine supply. The first ships have Ukrainian gas turbines. However following the 2014 Russian military aggression, the Ukrainians refused to supply Russia with military technology. As of 2014 some Admiral Grigorovich ships had no engines. These are to be fitted with alternative Russian engines, however these can not be completed before 2019-2020. Some sources report that funding, intended to complete construction of these frigates, was allocated to other Russian MoD projects. So at the moment future of the follow-on warships is uncertain.

 

 

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