A procurement project for floating platforms is usually a long-term project in the armaments process and is in contrast to the volatile security policy situation that has become the "new normal" in the last 10 years.
On the one hand, the users must anticipate geopolitical developments when formulating their skill requirements; on the other hand, procurement must take into account the current status of the daily business of the users. New ship designs such as the MKS 180 / F 126 take into account the requirements with increased modularity, which promise a far greater operational flexibility.
The “Team Germany” - an amalgamation of several German, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - has taken up the need for this high degree of flexibility in order to design a modular capability carrier for the navy. This can be used in the context of LV / BV, national risk and crisis management. The ability holder also enables further growth potential in order to meet future challenges.
The team is fundamentally convinced that combat boats of this size class that are available on the market do not meet current or future requirements and threats.
A current example of the changing tactical threat situation is the first massive use of drones in the conflict in Armenia. The sources are available reports and videos in which air defense systems classified as modern could be successfully fought by drones - despite activated radar systems. This threat is real and exists not only in the context of Area Access / Area Denial (A2AD) scenarios in the maritime environment, but also in asymmetrical conflicts with the participation of well-equipped militias without their own naval capabilities. Due to the range of these drones, such air attacks also represent a serious risk for sea-going units. Boats available on the market currently - from the point of view of "Team Germany" - do not offer an effective approach against these threats.
Key technologies from Germany
The future threat situation arises from extensive 3D monitoring, more precise and low-delay point-to-point combat and closer monitoring, for example by means of locally acting electro-optical sensors. This requires a smart reconnaissance and combat platform. In this regard, the companies involved have incorporated their expertise in realizing digital combat vehicles into the conception of the modular capability carrier. These new dangers threaten especially in areas of operation of the “confined and shallow waters”, which are classically assigned to the operational flotilla 1 in Kiel. As part of the LV / BV, the Baltic Sea is now back in focus. With the geographic features of this region, a smart reconnaissance and combat platform can develop its full potential.
The “Team Germany” has viewed the boat platform as a means to an end, as it were, as the nucleus of the term “Capability Carrier”, and has consistently developed it for modularity. With interchangeable or combinable (modular) capabilities, this capability carrier will offer a sustainable and assertive platform for current and foreseeable application scenarios that does not exist on the world market. The focus of the team's considerations is initially on the needs of the special forces.
A "basic configuration" has already been designed in such a way that basic reconnaissance and weapon systems are equipped to survive in action.
The concept is based on uniformly reduced ship signatures, especially in the areas of radar, infrared and acoustics. Flat sensor systems integrated into the superstructure (e.g. AESA radar surfaces embedded in the ship's side with 120 ° horizontal coverage each) or retractable, passive sensor systems support this approach. The resulting reduction in the own signature and the ability for passive reconnaissance in broad areas of the electromagnetic and optical spectrum facilitate undiscovered laying and tactically self-sufficient operations in the emergency room.
The shipbuilding design of the platform represents a passive form of self-protection. Due to the low signatures and a very low height above the waterline, the capability carrier is an almost impossible target for a “classic” anti-ship missile the integrated electronic support measures and electronic reconnaissance systems (EloUM and EloAufklSys) are planned. They take over the clarification of the radio communication of the corresponding weapon type in order to be able to initiate countermeasures afterwards.
Through the modular integration of different sensors for a combined situation report, such as AESA radar, EO sensors, laser, IR and radar warner, in connection with the available effectors (depending on the module configuration) an extraordinary ability for self-protection is achieved for combat boats as well as effectiveness.
EloUM and Elo Aufkl systems that have already been planned for the Navy offer capabilities that other nations would rather attribute to SIGINT ships and also serve to extend self-protection. It is possible to evaluate reconnaissance results either independently on board (as a single driver) or to make them available to other units through the modern communication options in a networked network.
The basic idea of a multifunctional mission deck of the MKS 180 was also included in the concept of the ability carrier and intended for moving equipment such as inflatable boats, smaller AUVs or UW scooters without aids. The mission deck can also serve as an installation location for new or expanded effectors up to “Non-Line-of-Sight” missiles (NLOS) or as a steep-fire effectors. In addition, the mission deck with a corresponding load capacity should also offer the possibility of future systems on standardized scaffolding, possibly on “Heavy Cargo Unit” (HCU) pallets. A corresponding supply of the mission load is made available via the platform's on-board systems.
The combination of several ability carriers in different module configurations results in military projection options that were previously reserved for much larger boats and ships. This, combined with an A400M shipment, means significantly faster response times for the German Navy and the Bundeswehr worldwide, as there is no longer a lengthy approach on your own keel. This is a major advantage at a time when conflicts arise very quickly and are ended just as quickly.
Long range and high speed, combined with up to several days of standing time in the operational area, as well as the air loading capability, enable high-quality platforms such as K130, F125 or, in the future, MKS 180 / F126 to be kept available for other uses.
"Off the shelf" vs. tailored
The use of "Military of the Shelf" units is - according to the team's assessment - a non-sustainable interim solution for the special forces of the Bundeswehr. The systems as well as the platforms would have to be adapted to current requirements at great expense.
The "Team Germany" is ready for the further development and implementation of a future-proof, smart, modular reconnaissance and combat platform that can cope with the challenges of modern operational reality.
PLATH Corporation GmbH
Contact person: Markus Daiberl
Tel: +49 40 237 34-150