Country of origin
Dimensions and displacement
Displacement, full load
5 780 tons
Propulsion and speed
7 400 km at 18 knots
CODAG arrangement with one gas turbine (35 514
shp) and two diesel engines (10 061 shp each), to two shafts
2 x NFH 90 or Sea Lynx Mk.88A
1 x 76 mm gun, 2 x 27 mm guns
32-cell Mk.41 VLS with 24 x Standard SM-2 and 32
missiles; 2 x RAM launchers with 42 RIM-116 surface-to-air missiles, 8 x
RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles
2 x tripple 324 mm launchers for MU90 lightweight
Currently the German
F124 or Sachsen class is one of the most advanced classes of frigates
in the world. These vessels are extremely powerful and fulfill a
primary role of air defense, at which they excel, with their world
class radar suite and powerful armament.
Development of the Sachsen class began in the 1990s as a
replacement for the aging and obsolete Lutjens class of destroyers
in the air defense role.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in
1993 between the German government and the Blohm & Voss, Royal
Schelde and Bazan (now Navantia) shipyards.
class was developed in cooperation with Spain’s
Alvaro de Bazan class and the Netherlands’s
De Zeven Provincien class. The goal of this joint project was to
produce a powerful class of warships able to operate in high-threat
The design that emerged is a
joint German and Dutch project based on the use of a common primary
anti-air warfare system using the Standard SM-2 and Evolved Sea
Sparrow medium-range surface-to-air missiles.
The design of the Type 124 Sachsen class frigate is based on that of
the Type 123 Brandenburg class. This technologically advanced
has enhanced stealth features
intended to deceive any opponent's radar and acoustic sensors.
It also incorporates
extensive Electronic Countermeasure (ECM) and
decoy system suite, all of which enhance its survivability
In 1996 the German government contracted for three ships with an
option on a fourth that was provisionally to have been named as the Thuringen, but the option for this fourth ship was not taken up.
Thus the class comprises three ships, the Sachsen, Hamburg and
Hessen. Entering limited service in 2003, the Sachsen class replaced
the Lutjens class destroyers. Actually in terms of displacement
and firepower the Sachsen class vessels are more closer to
destroyers. These warships have much ship platform
commonality with the Dutch
De Zeven Provincien class
likely that these ships are designated frigates for political
Primary mission of the Sachsen class is air defense of the German
fleet. Secondary roles are anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare.
SMART-L radar for long-range aerial surveillance. It can detect and
track ballistic missiles at a range of up to 480 km. At shorter
ranges this radar can reportedly track stealth weapons. The SMART-L
is capable of tracking 1 500 targets simultaneously and provides
Mounted round the top of
the superstructure are the four antennae of the Thales advanced
phased-array air/surface radar.
target detection, tracking and engagement. It can track 150+ surface
targets to ranges of 32 km and 200+ aerial targets out to 150 km.
helps to guide missiles and artillery fire. Up to 32 missiles can be
guided in flight simultaneously, including 16 missiles in terminal
stage. Such capability is very important while defending against
saturated missile attacks. Furthermore the APAR radar has a large
Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) suite.
It is considered that radar combination of the Sachsen
class is more capable than Aegis radar combination of the Spanish
Alvaro de Bazan class anti-air warfare frigates.
The primary surface-to-air missile armament is carried in the Mk.41
32-cell Vertical-Launch System (VLS) forward of the bridge. It carries a mix of Standard SM-2
IIIA missiles (range 150 km) as well as RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow
missiles (range 50 km) in designated cells. A total of 24 SM-2 and
32 ESSM missiles (4 per cell) are carrierd. 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. These
have a range of 10 km and form the third layer of air defense for
unlikely occurrence that something passes through three of these
layers of defense, two “last-ditch” Mauser MLG 27 mm autocannons are carried
in remotely-controlled weapon stations. These are reasonably effective, since they
have a high rate of fire - 1 700 rounds per minute! In addition, the OTO Melera 76 mm
dual-purpose gun is useful against aircraft and missiles. It is
capable of throwing its 6-kilogram shells out to 20 km at around 100
rounds per minute. It has 85 rounds ready-to-fire.
The Sachsen class carries a somewhat typical
surface-to-surface armament. Two four-cell Mk. 141 missile launchers
for the RGM-84D Harpoon (range of 120 km or more) are located
The Sachsen class frigates also carry
machine guns and
MG3 general purpose machine guns.
Furthermore, the two helicopters carried on vessels of this class
can use heavy machine guns or Sea Skua anti-ship missiles, range of
Interestingly enough, a complete turret of the 155 mm
PzH 2000 howitzer was
tested on one ship of the class, the F220 Hamburg, for
land-attack purposes. This weapon is certainly devastating, with its
enormous 43.5 kg rounds, max range of 40 km, and 9 rpm rate of fire.
Although the operation (named MONARC) was successful, it has not
been installed on any other Sachsen class frigates.
Anti-submarine capability is provided by two helicopters and two
triple 324 mm mountings for EUROTORP MU90 lightweight torpedoes (20
For submarine detection it has got an Atlas bow-mounted sonar, as
well as towed array sonar. The Sachsen class can accommodate
Sea Lunx Mk.88A helicopters. The helicopters can be
equipped with sonar and torpedoes for the ASW
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
a Combined Diesel and Gas (CODAG) propulsion system. It uses its two MTU V20 diesel engines,
developing a combined output of 20 128 shp, for normal cruising and
its single General Electric LM2500 gas turbine,
developing 35 514 shp, for high-speed operations.
Power is delivered to two shafts.
This propulsion system is quite efficient, and the Sachsen class ships can go
from standstill to max speed in only two minutes.
The vessels of the Sachsen class are rather expensive
to build and to maintain for a
number of reasons. These include their advanced (as well as
expensive) design, sensors, and weaponry, plus the large crew it takes to man these large vessels. Total cost of the three
ships was 2.1 Billion Euros or about US $2.37 Billion. In fact, the
ships were so expensive that the fourth unit was cancelled partially
because of this reason.
but not built
Article by The Tiger
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