A large number of systems on a ship require cooling – either by air or water. On a warship, this includes not only the propulsion and air conditioning, but also sensors such as the radars. Increasing temperatures in the ship’s environment translated into greater cooling needs for these systems. In order to find out whether a new warship can withstand the requirements in warm areas of operation and at the same time as expected under realistic conditions, the cooling systems must also go through various test programs before the first operational deployment.
In order to be able to test a warship in a meaningful way, long-term, complex test programs are necessary. The need to be as close as possible to an operational scenario. This is only possible after commissioning. While the industry together with the Bundeswehr provides the purely technical functional evidence of a ship before this step, the Bundeswehr then carries out significantly expanded tests that also include operational framework conditions.
-15 to +45 C°
The current results from the sea areas off the Brazilian coast have now confirmed that the systems of the Baden-Württemberg frigate are resilient even under extreme conditions. The F125 frigates are basically designed for outside air temperatures between minus 15 to plus 45 degrees Celsius and for water temperatures from just below zero to over 30 degrees. The counterpart to hot water testing is cold water testing, which the Baden-Württemberg frigate had previously completed.
When the frigate left her home port of Wilhelmshaven at the beginning of February, restrictions on public life in Germany and in large parts of the world due to the corona pandemic were not yet in place. Since March 10, however, no one has been allowed to leave the ship and no one has been allowed on board. A planned shore leave lasting several days, for example in the Brazilian port of Salvador de Bahia, had to be canceled. However, the new situation had no effect on the trials.
13,500 nautical miles journey
The Baden-Württemberg frigate traveled a total of around 13,500 nautical miles on its journey to Brazil and back to Germany. In addition to Salvador de Bahia, she has also visited other ports for refueling, but again without the crew going ashore. The next step for the ship is a three-month warranty period starting in May at the Blohm & Voss shipyard in Hamburg.
About F125 Baden-Württemberg-class Frigate
The F125 frigate project was launched in June 2007, with contracts worth $3 billion inked with the ARGE F125 consortium ( formed by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems and Friedrich Lurssen Werft and Blohm + Voss) for four vessels.
After years of delay, the German Navy officially commissioned the first F125 frigate Baden-Württemberg on June 17, 2019.
Production of the lead ship started in June 2011. The ship was christened in 2013 but delivery, which was scheduled for 2014, was postponed to after 2017 after majors issues were undisclosed by a confidential report May 2017. This report then unveiled that the frigates were overweight and slightly listing by 1.3 degrees starboard. The ship was rejected by the German Navy in December 2017 and returned to its builder.
The issues were corrected in April 2019, when the vessel was finally handed over to the German Navy. The second class F125 ship, the “Nordrhein-Westfalen” (“North Rhine-Westphalia”) was handed over to the customer in March 2020. The handing over of the 3rd and 4th ship is planned to take place successively within the next 2 years.
Principal data of the F125:
Length: 149 m
Beam: 18 m
Maximum speed: > 26 kn
Displacement: approx. 7,200 t
Complement: max. 190 persons
(of which 126 are regular crew)
Major armament: 1 × 127 mm lightweight Otobreda naval gun, 2x RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile, 2 × 27 mm MLG 27 remote-controlled autocannons, 8 × RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles