German Navy’s new state-of-the-art warship sails into tech trouble

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The German Navy’s latest multi-million dollar warship, the Baden-Württemberg, is battling delays and technology challenges.

The Baden-Württemberg is the first of four new F-125 class frigates ordered by the Bundeswehr, the German military, with a total price tag of around €2 billion ($2.44 billion).

Citing the German Navy, The Wall Street Journal reports that the ship’s central computer system has not passed the necessary tests. The ship, which has been undergoing sea trials, is returning to port this week, enabling the unspecified technology issues to be resolved.

“We are confident that we will be able to promptly solve the current problems with the IT-infrastructure thanks to our proven experience in the construction of complex naval vessels,” a spokesman for Thyssenkrupp, the company leading the F-125 project, told Fox News, via email.

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“For the frigate 125 ‘Baden-Württemberg’, necessary revisions have led to delays in the trials to prove its operability,” he explained. “These trials are mainly carried out at sea and require extensive support and resources from all project participants.”

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The German Navy’s new frigate, the Baden-Württemberg (Bundeswehr/YouTube screenshot)

With a wealth of new technology on board, experts are still fine-tuning the frigate. “The frigate class 125 is a newly designed, technically sophisticated ship with highly complex new developments – including new technologies. With regard to such a major project, delays can never be completely ruled out,” the Thyssenkrupp spokesman told Fox News.

The ship, which displaces around 7,000 tons, was delivered for sea trials in 2016 after a series of delays, according to The Journal. Designed to stay at sea for up to two years, the F-125 frigates will eventually replace the German Navy’s eight ‘Bremen’ type 122-class frigates.

The Baden-Württemberg is expected to be handed over to the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) this year, according to Thyssenkrupp’s spokesman.

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Thanks to its sophisticated technology, the F-125s will utilize a much smaller crew than the 122-class ships. The new frigates will each have a regular crew of 120, but can support a maximum crew of 190. The 122 class frigates each have a crew of 203 plus 20 additional helicopter crew, according to Naval Technology.

The F-125s are also designed to support a “two-crew” model, where the complete crew can be changed in mid-deployment.

Citing the German newspaper Kieler Nachrichten, The Journal reports that the Baden-Württemberg experienced problems with its radar, electronics and the flameproof coating on its fuel tanks. During its sea trials, the frigate was also found to list slightly to starboard, although this has been resolved.

Critics have also questioned whether the German military ordered the Baden-Württemberg without the necessary weaponry needed for anti-submarine warfare. The vessel, according to The Wall Street Journal, lacks the sonar and torpedo tubes found on the 122-class frigates.

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BAAINBw has not yet responded to a request for comment on this story from Fox News.

Despite the delays experienced by the Baden-Württemberg, the consortium delivering the F-125 project expects to hand over the three additional frigates; the ‘Nordrhein-Westfalen,’ the ‘Sachsen-Anhalt’ and the ‘Rheinland-Pfalz,’ on time. “The Nordrhein-Westfalen has successfully completed its ship-related technical trials. Currently the combat system is being tested. The delivery of the Nordrhein-Westfalen to the BAAINBw is also planned for 2018,” explained the Thyssenkrupp spokesman, in an email to Fox News. “The frigate Sachsen-Anhalt is planned to be handed over in the year 2019 and the Rheinland-Pfalz in the year 2020.”

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers





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