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The primary areas of operation of the navy (Bundesmarine) in the event of war are the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Until 1990 the navy's mission had been to block the Baltic approaches on behalf of NATO to prevent the deployment of the Soviet Baltic Fleet in the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.The political changes that unfolded in 1990 enabled the navy to reduce its concentration on the Baltic Sea and northern flank, shifting from defending against a tangible Warsaw Pact threat to preparing for a broader spectrum of maritime defense missions and tasks beyond home waters. The deployment of mine countermeasure vessels to the Mediterranean for NATO during the Persian Gulf crisis in 1990 and to the Persian Gulf after hostilities broke out in 1991, as well as Germany's participation in monitoring the naval blockade against Serbia in 1992, undoubtedly foreshadow other possible requirements distant from German coastal waters.Proportionately, the cuts imposed on the navy in response to the improved security situation in Europe have been the greatest among the three services. The ship inventory will be reduced to nearly half by the year 2005. German capabilities are being improved by the introduction of four `Type 212' submarines with air-independent propulsion.
  These are bigger than previous classes and will enter service from 2004. Of surface ships, the `K130' corvettes, although designed principally for coastal duties, are large enough to operate further away from home if necessary and emphasise a trend towards `blue water' operations. The introduction of the first of two new `Berlin' class support ships in 2001 will significantly improve upon current capabilities in this respect. Looking ahead, there is speculation that a future class of support ships might be based on the Netherlands `Rotterdam' class amphibious ships, perhaps upon the same lines as the new British Landing Ships Logistic. 
 The new `Sachsen' class frigates, the first of which was launched in January 2001, are to replace the ageing `Lutjens' class from 2002. The rotary winged assets of the German Naval Aviation are due to be replaced by the NH-90 NFH. A total of 38 of the Helicopters are required to enter service after 2008. As a stop-gap, seven Super Lynx Mk.88A have been delivered with the surviving Lynx Mk.88s also brought upto this standard. Ten new MPA are the main urgent priority for the GNA , to replace most of its existing fleet of 18 Brequet Atlantics.

Ships of the German Navy  :                               

Surface Combatants :

-Sachsen Class (Type F124)

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The Sachsen Class (F124) is Germany's Air Defence Frigate being built by ARGE F124, a consortium consisting of Blohm and Voss as the leading yard, Howaldtwerke-Deutsche Werft and Thyssen Nordseewerke. The frigates are being built under the Trilateral Frigate Agreement, signed by the Netherlands, Germany and Spain which provides cooperation in national construction of the frigates in each country. The ship’s medium and long range anti-air missiles are the Raytheon Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and the Standard Missile SM2111-A which are fired from a VLS Mk41 thirty-two cell launcher.

The F124 has two Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM), Mk 31 launchers and two four-cell Harpoon missile launchers. The RAM missile from Raytheon and RAM Systems GmbH, is a fire and forget missile which provides short range defence against incoming anti-ship missiles including sea-skimming missiles The ship is fitted with two triple Mk 32 torpedo launchers and also has helicopter-borne long range lightweight torpedoes. The flight deck and hangar accommodate two NH90 helicopters.

-Bradenburg Class Frigate  (Type 123)

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The Type 123 Brandenburg Class frigates were ordered in June 1989 to replace the Hamburg class. The frigates are primarily tasked with anti-submarine operations, but they also contribute to anti-air defence, the tactical command of group forces and surface operations. The ships form part of the Wilhelmshaven-based 6th frigate squadron.The all-steel ship has stealth features, extra space for Task Group personnel, and fin stabilisers. It is designed to carry two AgustaWestland Sea Lynx Mk 88 helicopters and a rigid inflatable boat for boarding operations.

The federal armaments procurement agency, the BWB ordered four Type 123 frigates for the German Navy at an estimated systems price of US$363m.The ship is armed with two twin launchers for MM 38 Exocet surface-to-surface missiles.A Lockheed Martin Mk 41 Mod 3 vertical launch system for 16 NATO Seasparrow medium-range surface-to-air missiles is fitted.The ship also has two 21-cell launchers for the RAM (Rolling Airframe) short-range surface-to-air missile.The vessel is equipped with one Otobreda 76mm/62 Mk-75 main gun.

-Bremen Class Frigate  (Type 122)

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The German Navy has eight Bremen Class frigates designed and built by Bremer Vulkan in the 1980s. The ship's primary role is for operation within the NATO and German task forces. The ship is designed primarily for anti-surface warfare missions with strong anti-air and anti-submarine warfare capability.

The Bremen has two four-cell Boeing Harpoon missile launchers. Harpoon (RGM-84) is an anti-surface missile, with active radar seeker and range of 130km. The ship's point defence system is based on the medium range NATO Seasparrow and the short range RAM (Rolling Airframe) missile.The ship accommodates two 4.5t class helicopters, the Sea Lynx Mark 88.

- Type K 130 Corvette

k130.jpg (16475 bytes) The specification of the new Class 130 generation of corvettes for the German Navy, defined on a competitive basis, has been finalised with the discision of the German Ministry of Defence to open contractual negotiations with the ARGE K130 for the building of 5 corvettes.The design concept of the ARGE K130 is based on the development of B+V's MEKO® Class A frigates and corvettes - a concept that has attracted significant interest on the international market - and on the latest FLW design concepts for export orders.
In important fields of technology, the developments that were begun for the Class 124 frigates, have been consistently followed through, for example in the area of on-board automation, in the computer and network technology and in the software for weapons and guidance systems.

In addition, the K130 incorporates numerous new developments and innovative proposals. As an example, the K130 will be the first naval ship in the world to be fitted with 2 drones for area reconnaissance and monitoring beyond the radar horizon. As far as the radar and infrared signature is concerned, the K130 has stealth properties. This permits deployment in coastal waters in particular within the remit of multinational rapid response forces.

Submarines :

 - U-206A Class submarine

u206asub.jpg (78012 bytes) Those altogether 12 Submarines of the class 206 were activated between 1973 and 1975.  In the comparison with submarines of other nations the German submarines  with about 500 tons of displacement are the smallest armed submarine, which operates world-wide. Due to their small size and the good depth control characteristics they are particularly suitable for the shallow water application and can maneuver underwater in depths of approx. 20 meters. The 206 Class is stationed in Eckernfoerde. They belong to 1. and 3. Ubootgeschwader. 

Armament Includes :

8x 533 mm STN Atlas DMÀ3 torpedo (cable-guided)
Mine putting capacity (GRP container with 12 mines)

- U-212 submarine


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The U212 submarine is capable of long distance submerged passage to the area of operation. The German Navy has ordered four of the submarines, the first ship will be commissioned in the year 2004. U31, the first of class, is expected to begin sea trials in October 2002.

There are six torpedo tubes in two groups of three. Type 212 is equipped with a water ram expulsion system for torpedo launch. The submarine is equipped with the DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo weapon system from STN Atlas Elektronik.The Type 212 is equipped with a highly integrated Command & Weapons Control System which interfaces with sensors, weapons and navigation system. EADS and Thales Defence Ltd have been awarded a contract to develop the FL1800U electronic warfare system for the German and Italian navies' U212 submarines. The 1800U is a submarine version of the FL1800 S-II, which is in service on the Brandenburg and Bremen class frigates.

Fast  Missile Ships  :

-Gepard-Klasse (type 143A)

gepard2.jpg (54347 bytes) These units are further developed on the basis of the Albatross class and they have instead of a second 76mm-Gun , the RAM missile system. This serves as an  improved protection from opposing anti-ship missiles. In place of the torpedo armament they possess a largely dimensioned mine putting capacity. The on board sensors present correspond to a large extent to those of the Albatross class , but it has however more modern and more far-reaching possibilities of the electronic conduct of operations.

Armament Includes :

1x 76 mm of OTO Melara cannon/62Mk 75
4x anti-ship missile Aerospatiale mm of 38 EXOCET
Mine putting capacity
1x GDC RAM (Rolling Airframe Missile) 21 cells

-Albatross-Klasse (type 143)

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Beside the armament of missiles, typical for German Missile Boats , these units have wire-guided long-range heavyweight torpedoes. The fire control systems permits the fight against five targets at the same time and can launch radar dummy targets and infrared decoys. Just as the other missile boats the Albatross class are also able to make contact with other warships, naval headquarters as well as the AWACS early warning aircraft with radio data transmission connection in real time.

Armament Includes :

2x 76 mm of OTO Melara of cannons/62 compact
4x anti-ship missile Aerospatiale mm of 38 EXOCET
2x 533 mm of torpedoes AEG Seeal (cable-steered)

Support  Ships :

-Tender Elbe (type 404)

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The task of the Elbe Class Tenders  exists mainly in the supply of fuel, water, food, spare parts and ammunition for naval ships operating in the deep Ocean . Thereby the sea endurance of the supplied boats can be substantially extended. 

Besides that the Tenders with their  garbage disposal mechanism and waste water processing facility ensure a environmental fair disposal of the waste produced in the on-board operation.

Armament Includes : 

2x Stinger Launchers 
2x 20mm Rhine metal cannon

- Berlin Class Combat Support Ship  (type 702)

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"Berlin" is the first of two combat support ships currently being built by Flensburg-based Schiffbau Gesellschaft mbH & Co.KG and the Lürssen Werft GmbH & Co. Bremen. The ships have a length of 176 meters, a water displacement of approximately 20,000 tons and 140 permanent crew members. The combat support ships of the Berlin Class are the  largest ships of the German navy. The main task of the Berlin class exists in the supply of German ships in high lake. Thus their sea endurance can be increased from approx..21 days to 45 sea-days. The first ship of this class, BERLIN, was finished in September 2000. The Second ship , Frankfurt/Main, was laid down  in May 2002. They will be both stationed in Wilhemshaven.

EADS affiliate Dornier will be delivering the marine version of its mobile 'TransHospital' field hospital also  to the second combat support ship of the German Navy. The DM10 million so-called Marine Emergency Rescue Centre (MERC) contract was announced here at IDEX 2001. MERC consists of 26 special containers for the treatment of sick and wounded personnel. The containers can be erected as a two-storey construction on the main deck or on land in crisis areas.

Aircraft  & Helicopters :

-Tornado IDS


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Navy TORNADOs are mainly tasked for maritime strike attack and tactical air support of maritime operations in multiple roles like Maritime-Attack, Reconnaissance and Minelaying. For these missions the aircrafts can be equipped with the KORMORAN anti-ship missile and the Anti-Radiation-Missile HARM Anti-Radiation missiles.Lessons learned from previous operations and missions  will be the basis for the Tornado short- and mid-life modular upgrade programs concerning "Combat Efficiency Enhancement". The main operational task of this element is to improve weapon system performance and accuracy, while enhancing the aircraft's ability to operate in a multi-national environment.

 They are designed to support and enhance the long-term operational role  GNY Tornado  To keep up with these increasing requirements over the next two decades, all remaining GAF and GNY Tornado combat aircraft will undergo a further update program during the upcoming years, the so-called ASSTA 2 (Avionics System Software Tornado in Ada) whereby software as well as hardware updates go hand in hand. Two new weapon integrations are also part of the "Combat Efficiency Upgrade". Both weapons, the Modular Stand Off Weapon TAURUS and the HARM PNU (High Speed Anti Radiation Missile with Precision Navigation Unit), are still in development.

-Atlantique/Peace Peek


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Peace Peak (SIGINT version)

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In 1996 MFG 3 received the first of 18 Brequet Br.1150 Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft. The majority of the Atlantics act as a long-range reconaissance aircraft for aerial patrol operations, shadowing threat aircraft and ships and intercepting target data transmissions. They also autonomously conduct anti-submarine warfare ,as well as co-operate with friendly submarines.

Operating alongside the standard maritime patrol Atlantics are the five surviving (from 6 converted) Peace Peek Elint platforms. The conversion displays several  external differences including additional radomes under under the fuselage and modifed wing tips. The Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft are now over 30 years old and the search for a successor has begun in co-operation with Italy, which has the same requirement. 

- Super Sea Lynx Mk.88A

superlynx1.jpg (122780 bytes) Severe delays to deliveries of the NH-90, mean that the German Navy has had to keep the Lynx in service longer than anticipated, and even had to order an additional seven Mk.88As in 1996 for the 'Bradenburg' frigates. The lynx Mk.88A fleet will total 24 in 2003, by when the older 17 Mk.88 helicopters will have undergone life extension programme to bring them to Mk.88A standard.

The Mk.88A features several improvements as compared to the older Mk.88 helicopters. Super Lynx Mk.88A is equipped with a 360° scan radar and the BAE SYSTEMS Seaspray Mark 3000 mounted in the chin fairing under the nose. By relocating the radar there is room for a moveable  infrared sensor on the nose. For this, the Navy selected the Marconi Multi Sensor Turret. It is now possible to employ Sea Skua missiles from the helicopters. They have a range of more than 15 kilometres and are supposed to offer a high probability of impact even when used against small targets. The navigation system has been improved by integrating a GPS receiver.A more durable rotor head and new composite blades with specially formed tips allow for a higher maximum take-off weight.

-NH 90 NFH

The NATO Frigate Helicopter (NFH) is one of two versions of the NH90 twin-engine multi-role helicopter being developed by NH Industries. The German Navy has ordered 38 NH-90 NFHs. The primary missions of the NH90 NFH helicopter are in the autonomous anti submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface ship warfare (AsuW) role. Secondary roles include anti-air warfare (AAW), vertical replenishment (VERTREP), search and rescue (SAR), troop transport and mine laying.

The cockpit has five 8in x 8in colour multifunction liquid crystal displays for flight, mission systems and maintenance data.The NATO Frigate Helicopter can be armed with anti-submarine torpedoes, air-to-surface missiles and air-to-air missiles.The NFH is equipped with a tactical forward-looking infrared system (FLIR) mounted in the nose, a magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) and a sonar suite. The NFH is equipped with a 360° surveillance radar mounted under the nose.

Sea King Mk.41

gernavyseaking2.jpg (32817 bytes) Twenty-two Sea Kings have been in service since 1975 with MFG 5 at Kiel. Originally planned for the SAR only. the Sea Kings Mk.41s have been progressively modified to equip them also for anti-surface and anti-submarine duties. 

The Sea Kings are now also active in tactical air transport roles for the Navy, Air Force and the Army during peace time operations . They were utilised for this role for the first time during the Gulf War. Due to be replaced by the NH Nato Frigate Helicopter.

Sources : 

Naval technology                         
The German Navy Homepage
Blohm and Voss
Flecktarn German Armed Forces Database
Fly Navy

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