German Navy Erfurt Braunschweig-class corvette
German Navy Erfurt Braunschweig-class corvette

Germany’s Wolgast Peene Shipyard Lays Down Eighth K130 Corvette

On Tuesday, October 6th, 2020, the keel-laying of the eighth corvette will take place during a ceremony at the Wolgast Peene shipyard. The corvette will be named “Karlsruhe”. The K130 Corvette (K130 Braunschweig class) is Germany’s newest class of ocean-going corvettes. Five ships have replaced the Gepard-class fast attack craft of the German Navy. The ships were not built at a single shipyard; sections were constructed at different locations at the same time and later married together. Five are additionally planned to be constructed from 2019–23, all will then be operated by the 1st Corvette Squadron based in Rostock-Warnemünde.

Boats 6-10 are supplied by the consortium (ARGE) K130, consisting of Fr. Lürssen Werft, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and German Naval Yards Kiel. Two forward sections will be manufactured and pre-equipped at the Lürssen shipyard in Bremen, and the other three at the Kiel shipyard of German Naval Yards. The five aft sections are manufactured at the Wolgast Peene shipyard while the Lürssen subsidiary Blohm + Voss is responsible for joining the fore and aft sections.T he five planned new corvettes will be named “Köln”, “Emden”, “Karlsruhe”, “Augsburg” and “Lübeck”. The cities of the same name also sponsor the corvettes. The naval leadership selected these names on the basis of various criteria.

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German Navy Erfurt Braunschweig-class corvette (sometimes Korvette 130)
German Navy Erfurt Braunschweig-class corvette (sometimes Korvette 130)

Traditionally, in the German Navy (Deutsche Marine), this was used as a rule to classify a vessel as a boat, not a ship. In a press release, the German Navy stated that these corvettes will be called ships nonetheless because of their size, armament, and endurance. The commanding officer wields the same disciplinary power as a German Army company commander, not that of a battalion commander as is the case with the larger German warships such as frigates. However, in size, armament, protection, and role, these corvettes resemble modern antisurface warfare light frigates, the main difference being the total absence of any antisubmarine warfare related sensors or weapons.

Originally, the K130 class was supposed to be armed with the naval version of the Polyphem missile. The Polyphem program was cancelled in 2003 and instead the designers chose to equip the class with the RBS-15. While the RBS-15 has a much greater range of 250 km (160 mi), the current version mounted on the ships, Mk3, lacks the ECM-resistant video feedback of the Polyphem. The German Navy has ordered the RBS-15 Mk4 in advance, which will be a future development of the Mk3 with increased range —400 km (250 mi)— and a dual seeker for increased resistance to electronic countermeasures. The RBS-15 Mk3 has the capability to engage land targets.

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