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On July 30, the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) signed the first contracts for the modernization of the tactical radar and fire control systems of the Brandenburg-class frigates (F123) of the German Navy with the Swedish contractor Saab AB. These measures are intended to ensure the operational readiness of the ships until 2035.

According to BAAINBw, the contract for the so-called BASIC package includes the replacement of the tactical 3D and 2D omnidirectional radar systems. As a unique selling point, according to the procurement office, these will have an active, non-rotating antenna for querying friend-foe data (IFF) over a large range. At the same time, the command and weapon deployment system (FüWES) was extensively modified to integrate the new systems.

Saab puts the order value at around 464 million euros. According to the Swedish company, deliveries and other services will take place between 2021 and 2030. Saab will commission the German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen with the shipbuilding work as the main contractor, while the German company ESG will take over the logistical support. Specifically, the contract includes the delivery and integration of the Saab 9LV command and control system, the Sea Giraffe 4A and Sea Giraffe 1X radars, the Ceros 200 fire control system and other third-party systems, including IFF capability. Saab will carry out the work according to its own information in Germany, Sweden and Australia.

Saab erhält Auftrag zur Modernisierung der Fregattenklasse F123
This is what the frigates could look like after the modernization (Graphic: Saab AB)

According to BAAINBw, the modification of the FüWES should significantly strengthen resilience to modern cyber threats and form the basis for modernizing further capabilities of the Brandenburg-class frigates. Wherever possible, manufacturer-independent and open standards are used. The successive provision of the modernized frigates is therefore planned for the years 2024 to 2027.

Saab erhält Auftrag zur Modernisierung der Fregattenklasse F123
Saab erhält Auftrag zur Modernisierung der Fregattenklasse F123

At the same time, a contract was signed with Saab AB for services from the “Performance Based Logistics” (PBL) complex to ensure readiness for use in the usage phase. The provision of spare and exchange parts and application-related parts packages as well as the maintenance of the technical documentation and the logistical master data including the predictive maintenance of the systems and facilities are part of the PBL contract, as the BAAINBw reports.

The next step is a contract to be concluded in 2021 with regard to the modernization of the sensor package, which will include the replacement of the systems previously used for electronic warfare using products available on the market, including a laser warning system, as well as the expansion of capabilities in the field of tactical data links .

Further packages for defense measures against threats from the air and above and below the water are to follow soon. This is to ensure the operational availability of all units of class F123 at least until the capability transition to the new frigates of class F126 with the planned commissioning of the first unit in 2028.