TKMS believes the MEKO A-300 concept and design offer benefits in several areas, Jonathan Kamerman, Head of Product Sales, told Naval News at the show.
MEKO A-300 Lethality
First is lethality, he explained:
“We’ve really packed the ship with anti-air warfare (AAW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and anti-submarine warfare (ASW) hard-kill and soft-kill assets.”
Jonathan Kamerman, Head of Product Sales, TKMS
He pointed to options for 64 strike-length Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS) cells or a mix of 32 strike-length Mk 41s and 36 Mk 56 VLS cells. These options enable a spread of AAW lethality, ranging from exo-atmospheric, to area, to local air-defense capabilities.
The design includes directed energy weapon capability, provided by two high-energy lasers (by Rheinmetall and MBDA Germany) and two high-powered microwaves delivering destructive thermal effects and disrupted control effects, respectively.
Four MASS launchers provide soft-kill AAW capability.
In ASW terms, hard-kill systems include TKMS’s own SeaSpider anti-torpedo torpedo. Two four-round SeaSpider launchers are fitted, one either side of the frigate amidships. The frigate’s torpedo capabilities can include lightweight torpedoes, and heavyweight torpedoes – including TKMS’s own SeaHake – deployed via a modular launching system fitted in the ship’s mission bay.
Anti-ship and land-attack capability is provided by 16 deck-launched surface-to-surface missiles, like Kongsberg’s Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The ship’s VLS cells can also carry land-attack systems.
Land attack capabilities
The second key area is naval fires-based land attack, Kamerman continued. He highlighted the Oto Melara 127/64 naval gun. Bringing Vulcano guided munitions and firing 34 rounds per minute, “This is a land dominance weapon,” he said – especially when combined for example with aviation support through embarked helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). A-300 can carry four UAVs.
MEKO A-300 survivability
Third is survivability. The ship has two ‘fighting islands’, one forward and one aft. Each contains propulsion, electrical supply, command and control (C2), and sensors and effectors to support full, three-dimensional offensive and defensive warfare, Kamerman explained.
“The whole idea [is], when the ship sustains damage, it doesn’t sink: it continues to float. It doesn’t stay still; it continues to move. It is capable of defending itself and giving punishment, even if one half of the ship is rendered ineffective.”
Central to survivability is stealth. The hull and superstructure design includes very severe angles for the plating. Any open spaces in the superstructure are fitted with stiff, tungsten-made, Faraday cages to reduce those spaces’ radar signature. All upper deck mounts and fittings are positioned behind fixed or collapsible bulkheads. To tackle the hull temperature factor within the ship’s signature equation, a seawater-based internal cooling system keeps hull temperature very close to that of the sea’s surface.
The fourth element is mission adaptability. Here, the mission bay is central, said Kamerman. Situated at the stern below the flight deck, the mission bay can accommodate a range of capabilities, including: a passive towed-array sonar; up to four TEU-footprint container modules; and two 11 m unmanned surface vessels (USVs).
“Mission adaptability is key, because the name of the game is offboard sensing and offboard effectors,” said Kamerman. He noted the option to combine a USV with SeaSpider: when augmenting this package with, for example, an unmanned helicopter, the ship can create a multi-static sonar sensing network without being a sonar source itself, Kamerman explained.
Assessing the MEKO concept’s range of capabilities, Kamerman said “You can have all of this or nothing, and anything in between. We control all the interfaces, so any customer has a full choice of all the sensors, weapons, and C2.” Having completed the concept phase, A-300 is currently in basic design, said Kamerman.
Check out our video coverage of the MEKO A-300 at Euronaval 2022: