Surface Forces: Der Kommando Kreuzer


October 24, 2008:  While Germany has been hesitant about getting involved in any combat in Afghanistan, they are making long range plans for foreign adventures. This comes in the form of four 7,200 ton warships that, in addition to the usual guns and missiles, carry fifty commandos. These F125 class frigates (they are actually the size of destroyers, but Europeans prefer to avoid such a violence laden word) will cost about $900 million each and the first one won't be delivered for six years.

Maybe the Germans will get their military mojo back by then, because these ships are designed to go half way around the world and make trouble. The 478 foot long ships have a crew of 120 (not counting the commandos) and are armed with eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, two RAM launchers (with 21 missiles each) for anti-missile and anti-aircraft work, one 127mm cannon, two 27mm remotely controlled autocannon, seven 12.7mm machine-guns (five remotely controlled), and two water cannon. There are also two NH-90 helicopters and four 36 foot long, high speed (47 kilometers an hour) boats for the commandos (who also get dibs on the helicopters) and one or two UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles) for clearing mines. There's also space for two 20 foot shipping containers, containing any special equipment. Electronics includes a phased array air search radar (as on Aegis ships) and the usual complement of commo and countermeasures stuff.

The F125s are designed to stay at sea for up to two years (with a crew switch, using a concept pioneered by the Americans, every six months or so). The ship isn't fast, with a top speed of 50 kilometers an hour. It can travel 7,200 kilometers without refueling. With these four frigates, Germany returns to the high seas.


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