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The German Navy since 2004 are three air defense ships of the Sachsen-class. With the scheduled end of the useful life of these three ships of the 2030s-year arises from the middle of a skill gap in the maritime air defense in the areas of Association antiaircraft and territorial protection. This capability gap is "Generation Frigate Next" by concluded the implementation of the accepted by Germany NATO planning goals. These ships also known as F 127 open up additional options for covering additional NATO requirements in the field of sea-based defense against ballistic and hypersonic missiles.

Unlike in the past, the demand requirement for capability profile F has not been directly initiated 127 on an initiative from the Navy out, but in a new top-down process "rough analysis and project plan" from the planning department of the Ministry of Defense. This is also an expression of the importance of the F 127 at the ministerial level to meet various national and NATO planning goals. It is also a guarantee for a much more rapid entry into the planning stages for defense projects. The to patch under the auspices of the Planning Office Integrated Project Team (IPT) are from the outset all relevant departments at (PlgABw, BAAINBw, CIR, MarKdo, BAIUDBw etc.). So a close vote will take place from the start - and not only after completion of the initiative - instead. So it is not only one save in the pre-analysis and one-half years, but it can be ensured from the outset the widest possible consensus on all offices levels.
The frigate 127 should help to get the to be provided by the naval capabilities of withdrawal of the F 124 and to complete ballistic missiles in the area of ​​defense (Ballistic Missile Defense, BMD). With the F 127, the Navy will have a globally deployable weapon system in the long term, the main contractor is an insert Association or area against the full range of threats from the air in the shelter. The F 127 operates in the future in a sensor operatively coupled with other sea-, air-, space- and ground-based systems, the integrated air defense. In addition, to be examined in the analysis phase and determined now to what extent these future ships, but can afford to NATO Ballistic Missile Defense within the Alliance defense contributing to territorial missile defense as part of homeland security and national defense as well.

As the first ship class since the F 124 to a specially designed according to the requirements of national and alliance defense frigate on skills for over- and Unterwasserseekrieg, to act in the cyber and information space and for deployment tasks in the context of international crisis management and national crisis and risk management feature. F 127 is designed as an assertive naval warfare. The ship should be flexible on the still unforeseeable potential threats to well adapt economically viable over the middle of the century.

Six ships are required

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Newly could be used a sonar UUV (Graphic: MTG)

The national ambition for the class 127 is based on a long-term commitment each one of these ships into two task forces. This ambition is the project outline submitted now for a total of six units is based. The future ships are thus not only the followers of the three current air defense frigates, but also an expression of the seriousness of a stronger German engagement in the strategic security preparedness of NATO. While Saxony-class after 2025 with a new radar covering the NATO requirement of a sensor contribution to the Anti-Ballistic Missile, F to 127 meet the medium-term demand for an integrated defense system, including interceptor ballistic missiles. The inflow of new air defense ships is scheduled for the 2032nd This plan currently stands, however, the delayed supply of multi-role combat ships MKS 180 opposite.

Vertical launch systems for determining the ship design

Just ten months after the commissioning of the IPT could submit to the Ministry the draft project plan as the first "phase Document". This sector is also on the draft preliminary operational concept, which the Navy Command had already voted in April Bundeswehr far.

In addition to the helicopter and UAV, speed boat and a container yard, see the hangar (Graphic: MTG)

Da F 127 Fähigkeiten abbilden soll, wie sie heute teilweise schon auf Zerstörern der Arleigh-Burke-Klasse der US Navy zur Verfügung stehen, ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass erste Designüberlegungen auf ähnliche Abmessungen kommen – bei etwa halbierter Besatzung. Die Größe des Schiffes wird hauptsächlich durch die Anzahl und Dimension der Senkrechtstartanlagen für die Flugkörper und die umfangreiche taktische Sensorausstattung bestimmt. Eine konkrete Festlegung auf Systeme ist noch nicht getroffen und bleibt somit Gegenstand weiterer Untersuchungen in der Analysephase. Die Frage, welche und wie viele Flugkörper letztendlich eingerüstet werden sollen, wird aktuell im Forschungs- und Technologievorhaben „HF133 –Flugkörper für maritime Luftverteidigung“ eruiert. Aufsetzend auf eine im Rahmen des Framework Nations Concept durchgeführte multinationale Studie „Seabased Upper Layer Effector Feasibility“ werden dort die marktverfügbaren Abwehrflugkörper Standard Missile 6 (SM-6) und Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) mit zukunftsgerichteten und bedrohungsoptimierten nationalen und europäischen Flugkörperkonzepten verglichen. Ambitioniertes Ziel ist es, die NATO-Forderungen an Deutschland für die Bereiche Verbandsflugabwehr, Gebietsschutz sowie Abwehr ballistischer (innerhalb der Atmosphäre) und hypersonischer Bedrohungen mit möglichst einem einzigen Abwehrflugkörper wie zum Beispiel dem SM-6 oder dem national in der Konzeptauslegung befindlichen Ramjet abzudecken.

The 2018 approved by the inspector general concept of "territorial missile defense" reflects the focus on the national and Alliance defense bill. It describes the requirements for protection against a 360 ° -Bedrohung by ballistic missiles of all classes and reach the possible maritime contribution to overall national architecture for missile defense, integrated into the NATO Integrated Air and Missile Defense. If it came to a (political) decision to provide for the F 127 also contributes to the Anti-Ballistic missiles outside the atmosphere (over 100 km), would have an additional missiles such as the SM-3, or standing in the concept design "Seabased European midcourse interceptor ( sEMDI) "are upgraded.

In the area of ​​local and close-range protection to proven yet modernized products such as Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) or Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) - then Block 2 - are set, even high-energy weapons such as a 100-kW lasers are considered. In addition to the missiles to counter threats from the air, different concepts for the control of sea and land targets are studied over long distances. is also considered - threat justice - a far-reaching weapon against submarines.

Blessing and curse of digitization

The demanded by NATO and the concept of network enhanced capabilities of the Bundeswehr digital networking is decisive for the technical realization of modern weapon systems. The F 127 must therefore provide the opportunity situational structure, threat analysis and combat planning to carry out fully automated and multinational association level. Only the system relieves the operator while providing the best possible decision support for time-critical use of weapons. The conversion shall take place through the partner nations agreed "Framework Architecture 2030+" with standardized interfaces and processes and modern IP networks. At the same time it must be in addition to the ever closer networking also return to the emergency passed, the unplugged operations allow. That is, even in electromagnetically harsh environment and after failure of satellite and Internet connections must be even F to the effective use of weapons capable of 127th In conjunction with the need for an ever smaller staff approach this seems today like squaring the circle. For this purpose, be considered the subject of artificial intelligence for process flow optimization.

Other uses funds flexibly structured areas

Zur Erfüllung der Anforderungen an die in Entwicklung befindlichen Sensor-Wirkverbünde sowie zur Sicherstellung von späteren Nach- und Umrüstungen ist die zukünftige Fregatte zur Aufnahme modularer Einsatzmittel (bemannte und unbemannte Luft-, Überwasser- und Unterwasserfahrzeuge etc.) auszulegen. Dafür wurde durch die Firma MTG Marinetechnik ein flexibles Raumkonzept für den Initialentwurf F 127 entwickelt. Dieses ermöglicht in zwei voneinander unabhängigen, internen Schiffsbereichen eine flexible und einsatzspezifische Integration diverser organischer Einsatzmittel und anderer modularer Bordeinsatzkomponenten. Diese Schiffsbereiche werden nachfolgend als „Flex-Hangar“ und „Flex-Heck“ sowie zusammengefasst als „Flex-Bereiche“ bezeichnet. Die Flex-Bereiche erlauben eine flexible Konfiguration des Fähigkeitsträgers F 127 bei einer gleichzeitig sinnvollen Begrenzung des erforderlichen Schiffsraumes und der Anzahl der zu erwartenden Einsatzkomponenten. Die Einsatzkomponenten werden in der Stauposition gegenüber Witterungseinflüssen geschützt, haben keinen negativen Einfluss auf die Signatur des Fähigkeitsträgers und sind gegenüber unerwünschtem Einblick von außen verborgen. Durch die Vielfalt der berücksichtigten Möglichkeiten besteht ein hohes Potenzial zur Integration zukünftiger Systeme, die zum Entwurfszeitpunkt nur als Konzept oder Idee existieren.

The Flex-tail, an insert boot record, ... (Graphic: MTG)

The Flex-hangar is part of a spatially separated double hangars for use on board helicopters. The arranged on port side hangar is designed as a "Bordhobschrauber service hangar", produced in conjunction with its affiliated service, storage and ground handling facilities to the stowage, care, maintenance and repair of the embarked aboard the helicopter.

... alternatively mines ... (Graphic: MTG)

Of the service hangar arranged parallel to the starboard side Flex hangar enables among other things the recording and the operation following application means:

  • a second board helicopter (excluding repair here)
  • small to medium sized unmanned aerial systems (UAV), including maintenance and repair
  • an insert or unmanned boat surface vessel (UPS) to about twelve meters in length, alternatively several smaller types
  • different underwater vehicles (UUV)
  • ISO container (1 x 40 feet and 1 x 20 feet)

The Flex-tail is disposed near the water line in the center at the rear below the BHS-flight deck and is flanked on both sides by spatially separated Verholdecks. It also allows for the inclusion and operation of the following operating resources:

  • Use boat or UPS to about twelve meters in length,
  • containerized modular towed sonar (TASS)
  • UUV and compatible launch and storage systems
  • Other containerized mission components
  • Sea mines and compatible storage and discharge rails
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... or a modular towed array sonar (Graphic: MTG)

Boat or UPS stored in a trough-like recessed in the ground, inclined rear train on haftreibungsvermindernden rolls or rollers. These can be adjusted at an angle to various body geometries. The rear train can be covered with profiles that are carried on board the Flex tail. This creates a flat storage area of ​​approximately 15 x 5 meters. This storage space can accommodate either two parallel tracks for two 20 ft ISO containers or three parallel rails mine.

New ways of implementation to ensure rapid availability

A complex project like the frigate class 127 is highly risky. This is due to the fact that this new, partly used to be developed technologies. In order to make these risks manageable, a gradual ability nursery is effective. with large, partly years of gaps between the delivery of the vessels and their operational availability, operability and usability for the fleet 127 two fundamentally new approaches are proposed in the realization associated with the class from the experiences of the past.

AMD Testbed

A first step to reduce the risks, the project F 127 upstream "Air & Missile Defense Testbed". In order to make the development of risk and complexity for the new class manageable, was a timely, successive build-up of part of skills on this planned in Wilhelmshaven country Asset early recommended by the Integrated project team F 127th

The aim is to prepare both the threat fair ability receipt in the area air defense and air defense capability as the nursery and ballistic for defense and hypersonic missiles. This is to be decoupled from future platforms together with multinational partners and in the armed forces joint context. At a later stage, the results are then beizustellen the project F 127th In addition, the AMD testbed will provide in advance results for other projects related to the classes F 124 and FMD 180, including system and project dependencies with F 127th

The preparation of the phase document "capability gap and Functional demand" (FFF) establishing the AMD testbed has meanwhile been instructed by the Federal Ministry of Defense.

Inflow into manageable skill levels

To make the supply of such a complex warship and its application system integration manageable, the proposal of a gradual capacity building also reflects in the inlet of each vessel. From ship to ship 1 6 the complexity of the skill level increases gradually. Follow fulfillable and demonstrable milestones and so make from the start of the fleet operational early supply- and operational ships. While ship 1 is as pure air defense vessel with an initial operational capability (replacement capability AAW F 124) in service, the remaining points are eliminated from this initial skill level and decrease operational test and subsequently detected on the ship. 2 To ship 3 an initial qualification is implemented Anti-Ballistic Missile in the lower scavenging and qualified. (Etc. laser insert modules) via the vessels 4 and 5. To make the decision to scaffolding of particularly complex (cost- and risk-related) Integration and proof of additional skills last skill level "BMD Upper Layer", an exo-atmospheric missile defense capability, to meet as late as possible, was this ability step consciously the sixth ship set.

The retrofitting of the units 1 to 5 to the higher (s) skill levels will be left to the routine maintenance phases.

Conclusion

The class 125 was designed at the beginning of the century as a stabilizing unit with new ideas for intensive use and MKS 180 based on the operational requirements at the beginning of this decade. The basic idea for F 127 against it is based on the realignment of the Bundeswehr to the national and Alliance defense and represents the corresponding maritime component. The ability in intense sea battle and against attacks from the air and on land, the protection of civil and military organizations in Lake and facilities in coastal areas and the contribution of ballistic for defense and hypersonic threats provides previously unknown demands on the technological design of the ships. A particular challenge will represent the interaction of internal processes on the ships with the external sensor and active associations.

Showing the relevant time horizon of the evolving threats and technologies thereby moves between 2030 and 2075. This requires planners and architects the famous look into the crystal.

That is why it is important to make specifications for F 127 so late to the specific equipment and so flexible and modular as possible. With these ships, the German Navy will have a future and assertive platform brings the potential for flexible adaptation to changing threats. F 127 will be the backbone of the fleet by mid-century.

The article first appeared in the January 2020 issue of the journal Marine Forum, The publication of the Navy Officer Association (MOV).

Author: Commander Andreas Uhl Authorized Representative's F 127 in the naval command Rostock in the Department of Planning.

The author was in 1997 ship operations officer of the destroyer Molders. Since then, his various posts, the development of air defense capability
the German Navy and its ability nursery. With the commissioning of the frigate Sachsen he was the first officer. Since January 2019 he has authorized signatories of the Navy for the Voranalysephase the Next Generation Frigate (F 127). The class frigates F 127 are intended to maintain the skills of then arrived at the end of its useful life frigates F 124 against timely threats from the mid-2030s-years - and additionally provide additional, required by NATO new capabilities against ballistic and hypersonic threats.