The second of a total of four 125 class frigates Nordrhein-Westfalen enters service on 10 June. The first ship in this class, the “Baden-Württemberg”, has already entered service. The Baden-Württemberg class have the highest displacement of any class of frigate worldwide. They are to replace the Bremen class. They are primarily designed for low and medium intensity maritime stabilization operations, where they are supposed to provide sea-to-land tactical fire support, asymmetric threat control at sea and support of special forces. In contrast to the Bremen class, which were built with Cold War-era scenarios in mind, the Baden-Württemberg-class frigates will have much enhanced land-attack capabilities.
The F125 Baden-Württemberg-class frigates are a series of frigates of the German Navy, which were designed and constructed by ARGE F125, a joint-venture of Thyssen-Krupp and Lürssen. The ARGE F125 consortium which was awarded the contract to build four F125 class ships for the German Navy in 2007 consists of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems as the lead company and Fr. Lürssen Werft. The pre-fitted bow sections are being manufactured at the Fr. Lürssen Werft shipyards in Bremen and Wolgast. Construction of the stern sections, the joining of the two sections and further fitting out is being carried out at Blohm+Voss Shipyards in Hamburg.
Major design goals are reduced radar, infrared and acoustic signatures (stealth technology), something that was introduced to the German Navy with the Brandenburg-class frigate and was further developed with the Sachsen-class frigate and Braunschweig-class corvette. It should be possible to deploy Baden-Württemberg-class frigates for up to two years away from homeports with an average sea operation time of more than 5,000 hours per year (that’s nearly 60%) which includes operation under tropical conditions. For this reason, a combined diesel-electric and gas arrangement has been chosen for the machinery.
An initial batch of four frigates was ordered by the German Navy on 26 June 2007. The initial batch of four ships costs around 2.2 billion Euros. In April 2007, a contract with Finmeccanica was signed for delivery of Otobreda 127 mm Vulcano main guns as well as remote-controlled light gun turrets for the Baden-Württemberg-class. The initially considered 155 mm MONARC gun, as well as the naval GMLRS rocket launcher, were dropped due to problems with the navalization of these land-based systems. The deal with Oto Melara had become opportune, because Germany still had counter trade obligations towards Italy, as Italy had purchased two German U212A class submarines.