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Friday, 6 December 2019

Erradii class frigates of the Algerian National Navy

Written by D-Mitch

El Moudamir (911), MEKO A-200AN of the Algerian National Navy
The first MEKO A-200 frigates were ordered from South Africa in 1999. The South African Navy placed an order for four multi-purpose MEKO A-200SAN which are known as the Valour class. The ships were constructed in Germany between 2001-03 and delivered unarmed to S.Africa where the weapons, sensors and combat system were integrated, a process that took 2-3 years per ship. The first vessel, SAS Amatola, was commissioned in February 2006 while the fourth and final ship, SAS Mendi, was handed over in June 2004 and commissioned in March 2007. Two MEKO A-200 AN frigates, a further development of the Valour-class design were built for Algeria by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). TKMS is a group and holding company of providers of naval vessels, surface ships and submarines. It was founded when large industrial conglomerate ThyssenKrupp acquired Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft on January 5, 2005.  The group consists of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel, Germany, Atlas Elektronik in Bremen, Germany and Hellenic Shipyards Co. in Skaramangas, Greece (25%). The South African frigates will be analyzed in a future article.

SAS Amatola (F145), lead ship of the Valour class frigates



Ιn March 2012, the Algerian National Navy ordered two MEKO A-200s, Erradii (910) and El Moudamir (911). Both were built and fully fitted out in Germany before delivery in 2016 – 17. The hulls are almost identical to the South African ships but have been fitted with significantly heavier armament, notably the OTO Melara 127/64 lightweight 127mm naval gun (vs 76mm gun on Valours), 16 Saab RBS 15 Mk3 anti-ship missiles (vs eight less powerful MM40 Block 2 Exocet on Valours) and torpedo launchers (the South African vessels are fitted for but not with). Their secondary armament, decoy and electronic equipment is much different also, and much more powerful on Algerian ships. Algeria has also an option to purchase two further ships. A third country will be the user of A-200s. According to BILD newspaper on 3 April, the German parliament has approved the sale of six MEKO A200 frigates to Egypt, providing guarantees of up to 2.3 billion euros for the transaction.

Erradii (910), lead ship of the Eradii class frigates of the Algerian Navy

The Mehrzweck-Kombination (MEKO) warship concept (which translates as ‘multi-purpose-combination’) has a proven track record as one the world’s most successful warship export programmes. More than 50 frigates and corvettes have been built since the 1970s for navies across the world. MEKO was developed by Blohm+Voss, its warship business is now a subsidiary of the giant Thyssen Krupp group.  The MEKO concept is based on modular and easily interchangeable or upgradable weapons and sensors.  Note that the ships in the class combine different weapons and systems from different manufacturers of various countries including South Africa, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain.
 
The complete list of ThyssenKrupp frigate and corvette production until today. Note the impressive number of MEKOs. Israel's Sa'ar 6 ships are under construction and are based on the K130 concept. Note also that Poland never built two MEKO 100 corvettes but completed just one as an offshore patrol vessel.

The MEKO A-200 follows the famous MEKO 200 series in a long line of general-purpose frigates. A fighting ship capable of full 4-dimensional warfare (AAW, ASW and ASuW, BCW), the MEKO A-200 is also designed for sustained operations across the full spectrum of general missions and tasks: patrol and interdiction, support of special force operations, SAR, and humanitarian operations. The MEKO A-200 is a perfect example of the innovative propulsion, stealth and survivability design, robust sea keeping and all-weather boat and helicopter operability that characterize frigates from Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems.

The innovative propulsion system of MEKO -A200 design

The Wärtsilä propulsion jet is the
largest water jet ever built
Wärtsilä propulsion jet in maximum
speed!
This frigate features the revolutionary CODAG-WARP (COmbined Diesel And Gas turbine-WAter jet and Refined Propellers) propulsion system: two  controllable pitch propellers (CPP) 5C9, each fitted with a LIPS controllable pitch 5-blade 3.4m diameter propeller, driven by cross-connectable diesel engines via a three-stage gearbox (2 x MTU 16V 1163 TB93 of 5920 kW each) plus a center-line, gas turbine-driven LIPS Wärtsilä LJ210E water jet (1 x GE LM 2500 GT of 20,000kw), combining the power of each drive in the water with no need for a combining gearbox. This arrangement allows for extremely quiet acoustic signatures, a high degree of propulsion redundancy, and damage survivability. The water jet can be used alone or combined with the diesel to achieve the maximum speed of over 27 knots. In the diesel-only mode this propulsion arrangement is also an extremely economic solution, as a single engine can drive both shafts for speeds of up to 18 knots. In other words, these frigates will spend most of their service lives running on just one engine.  

Stern view of the Algerian frigate Erradii
  
Frigate El Moudamir
Algerian MEKO A-200 frigate

There is also a reverse-thrust bucket fitted that can be raised to redirect the water jet forward. This gives the A-200 the shortest stopping distance of any ship in its class. The ships have also four diesel generators (4 x MTU 12-valve 183 TE52 diesel engines in two power plants) feeding two separate main switchboards. The hull and superstructure are built from steel with extensive use of high tensile material. The hull was subject to extensive tank tests to ensure for low resistance over the whole speed range. There is a sharp-edged, bulbous bow which reduces resistance and noise through the water and maximises the performance of the hull-mounted sonar. Using active fin stabilizers, the ship can sustain up to 24 knots, engage weapons and operate helicopters up to sea state 6.

Exhaust gases from both the diesels
and gas turbine are cooled with
seawater helping to reduce the
infrared signature
The X form hull of the ships can clearly be seen in the photo














Close up of the A-200 stern showing
the waterjet and reverse thrust bucket












The X form hull of the ships can clearly
be seen in this photo
The lead ship in the frigate class.
Photo by Braker
The outstanding sea-keeping and tactical mobility qualities are based on the fast mono-hull design featuring a forefoot skeg for greatly reduced yawing and directional stability in a seaway. The >16 m beam and active fin stabilizers for their part ensure platform stability so that helicopter and boat operations can be conducted in sea state 6. Moreover, the covered forecastle and high freeboard provide for additional buoyancy and reduced deck wetness and slamming to allow high speeds in heavy seas. With a tactical diameter of less than four ship lengths and a stopping distance from full speed of less than two lengths, the MEKO A-200, according to the manufacturer, outperforms all frigates in the same tonnage class. 

Top view of an Algerian frigate where all the impressive armament can be seen

The MEKO A-200 has greatly reduced radar, IR (Infrared), acoustic and magnetic signatures:

  • Hull panels are alternately angled to avoid large flat surfaces, an arrangement called ‘X-form’. Right angle corners are avoided and the decks and superstructure have been decluttered. The bridge wings present on the original MEKO have been eliminated and the bridge is completely enclosed. The X-Form shell design; extensive bulwark screening of exposed equipment; flush-closing shell doors and RCS-net screening of all shell openings, give the vessel very low radar cross section.
  • Without a funnel, and with all combustion engines exhaust horizontally on or below the waterline with active cooling, plus a shell cooling system, this ship has exceptionally low IR signatures.
  • The small, light propellers and the aft-sighting of propulsion machinery allowed by CODAG-WARP combined with a forefoot skeg make for exceptionally quiet signatures.
Erradii frigate wwith her powerful 127mm gun on the bow section
The X-form of frigate Erradii is clearly visible in this photo
The modularity of MEKO warships, a great concept!
About the MEKO A-200, Blohm+Voss claim that this class has the radar signature of a vessel one-half her size, 75% less infrared emissions than previous designs, as well as a 20% lower life-cycle cost, 25% lower displacement, and 30% fewer crewmen. The hull subdivided into more than 10 watertight compartments, as well as double bulkheads and box girders running lengthwise – proven to prevent hull break-up. The class also feature an overpressure ventilation system and an armoured radiological, bacterial and chemical-(RBC) resistant citadel (including the bridge, the superstructure and most of the hull) as well as an external sprinkler system for “pre-wetting” ship prior to entering a contaminated zone or washing off RBC fallout or for cooling the hull to reduce its heat signature. The lack of funnels also frees premium space amidships for armament, crew quarters and store rooms. The ships have plenty of space to accommodate new equipment and weapons and was designed to easily allow the removal of outdated technology through easily accessible hatches.



The 5in gun on the bow section
Another shot from the bow
The general characteristics of the class is a displacement of approximately 3,800tons at full load, length of 121m, beam of 16.3m, maximum speed of 29 knots and a range of 7,200n.m. with the speed of 16 knots. The crew is just 120 (!), half the permanent crew compared with classic multi-purpose frigates, thanks to a high level of automation while there are additional accommodations for more people (commando teams, marines, helicopters' crews, squadron's staff) reaching a complement of 150. Video of the Erradii class frigates here.

The impressive El Moudamir frigate
The impressive El Moudamir frigate

The 127mm/64cal on the bow section
Behind there is the 32-cell VLS
Leonardo 127mm LW gun of an
Algerian Navy MEKO A-200 frigate
The frigates are armed with the latest design in the 5-inch naval gun category. The MEKO A-200AN is one of the only three classes in the world today equipped with the Leonardo (former OTO Melara) 127mm LW, together with the Italian Navy Bergamini (GP) class frigates and the Baden-Württemberg class (F125) frigates of the German Navy. The Leonardo 127mm/64cal Lightweight (LW) is part of the VULCANO system which consists of four key sub-systems: the medium caliber 127/64 LW Gun assembly, the Automated Ammunition Handling System, the Naval Fire Control Support and the VULCANO family of ammunition. The system is intended for surface fire and naval gunfire support as main role and anti-aircraft fire as secondary role. The 127/64 LW - VULCANO is equipped with a modular feeding magazine, composed by 4 drums with 14 ready to fire ammunition each (56 in total), reloadable during firing, and highly flexible in terms of selection of ammunition, independently from their position in the drums. Ammunition flow is reversible as rounds can be downloaded automatically.


A Bergamini class frigate  using her Leonardo 5-in gun!
The X-form is notable
The 127mm VULCANO ammunition family, is composed by Ballistic Extended Range (BER) and Guided Long Range (GLR) ammunition with different multifunctional fuses, sensor and final guidance that extend the range of the gun up to 100km. The rate of fire is 32rds per minute and a range of 23km against surface targets and about 9km against airborne targets. There is also the highly Automated Ammunition Handling System for the 127/64 mm gun, which holds 350 127mm shells in addition to the 56 in the four reload drums of the gun turret. 

MSI Defense Systems 30mm DS30M Mk 2 gun atop the helicopter hangar
The rear MSI 30mm gun
30mm gun forward of the bridge
Paradoxically instead of two modern close-in weapons systems (CIWS), two MSI Defense Systems 30mm DS30M Mark 2 (Seahawk A2) gun systems complete the gun armament. Each system consists of a 30mm Mark 44 Bushmaster II cannon on a fully automated mount with an off-mount electro-optical director (EOD) and with below deck control console. The gun has a rate of fire of approximately 650 rounds per minute in a maximum range of less than 3km in anti-aircraft role. Except the main naval gun, the ships are equipped with 2-4 MH2B heavy machine guns. The M2 has a maximum (effective) range of around 1,830m for air targets and 2,800m for surface targets, and a cyclical rate of fire of approximately 600 rounds per minute. Note that there is enough space for the installation of more powerful systems than the two 30mm guns, such as modern CIWS that require no through deck penetration. There are also several mounts on board for light or heavy machine guns.

View of the automatic MSI 30mm gun
View of the automatic MSI 30mm gun

The Algerian ships have a very impressive anti-ship missile armament that consists of 16 (!) Saab RBS15 Mk3 missiles.This is definitely some of the heaviest armament worldwide especially for a 120-meter frigate.

Algerian naval power! 16 RBS 15 Mk3 anti-ship missiles amidships

The big canisters that carry the RBS-15 Mk3 SSM
Saab's RBS15 Mk3 is the latest generation, long range, Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM) system. The 4.35-meter RBS15 Mk3 is designed to operate in the naval scenario, from anti-ship engagement in blue to littoral waters as well as land attack missions. The missile has a range of more than 200 km. This can be used to achieve great stand-off, utilizing over the horizon targeting or make tactical use of the extremely flexible trajectory with its large numbers of both horizontal and vertical waypoints. The system is a fire and forget anti-ship, sea-skimming, cruise type missile with an active radar target seeker, enabling all-weather capability. The long flight range and the extremely flexible trajectory enables attack from short distances to ranges well beyond the horizon. The GPS-supported high precision navigation system enables the missile to be used in naval land attack missions engaging stationary targets on land such as buildings, depots, hangars, air defence sites etc. Missile's weight is 660kg (820kg with boosters) with 200 kg HE blast and pre-fragmented warhead. The speed is 0.9 Mach.

Sea-skimming RBS-15 Mk3 missiles heading for their targets

View of the launchers amidships
View of the launchers amidships
RBS Mk3 offers the ability to utilize a range of more than 200 km to attack enemies from multiple angles using multiple 3D waypoints. The missile increases its thrust in the terminal phase to defeat missiles, guns and close-in weapon systems (CIWS). The missile engagement planning system (MEPS) provides advanced user interface for generating plans for different scenarios. The missile possesses a high hit probability with outstanding Electronic Counter Counter Measures (ECCM) features, stealthy approach, terminal phase manoeuvres and extremely low sea skimming ability (flight altitude is automatically adapted based on the wave height) contributing to the missile’s high defence penetration capability. The unlimited overland flight capability in combination with the high-resolution radar target seeker enables the operator to engage targets close to land and among islands. The advanced signal processing ensures a high target selection and discrimination capability, even in crowded surface situations. A video of an Algerian MEKO A- 200 frigate testing the RBS15 Mk3 SSM here.

The capabilities of the RBS-15 family by Saab

Denel Dynamics Umkhonto-IR surface-to-air missile
The Umkhonto canister
The anti-aircraft missile armament consists of 32 Denel Dynamics Umkhonto-IR Block 2 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in two 16-cell modules. Umkhonto (Spear) missile is an indigenous product, designed, development and manufactured in South Africa. The design of Umkhonto was inspired by the Zulu military commander King Shaka who introduced to his warriors among other things, the short Spear, the cow horn formation and the element of surprise. Similarly the Umkhonto missile design includes stealth characteristics (passive IR seeker and low smoke rocket motor) and flexibility (multi target engagement and ability to launch from any position). The Umkhonto all-weather-capable vertical launch Surface to Air Missile (SAM) was developed for the SA Navy's Meko A-200 frigates, and has been in service since 2001. The missile is high-velocity and infrared homing, providing all-round defence against simultaneous attacks from missiles and aircrafts. Although, this is a surface to air missile, it is also capable of taking out stationery surface targets. 

View of an Algerian frigate
South African frigate launching Umkhonto SAM
The two 16-cell modules of a South African Navy frigate


















El Moudamir by Stephen Cergi












 
View of the VLS
SA frigate launching Umkhonto
The Umkhonto was designed with a 23kg warhead for high-kill probability, unlike other SAM missile systems in its class. The system features multiple-target engagement (up to four targets), countermeasure resistance, absence of line-of-sight limitations, ease of maintenance (high BIT coverage) and all-round (360 degree) coverage. The Umkhonto has a set of tail-mounted, aerodynamic control fins, as well as thrust vectoring vanes in the motor nozzle allowing for 40g maneuvering. The maximum range is 20km, ceiling is 8km, speed Mach 2 achieving the time of flight to 8km in just 18 seconds!

Modified photo of am Eraddii (MEKO A-200AN) class frigate. For a high resolution image click here.

Twin torpedo launcher of an Algerian MEKO frigate
For ASW the vessels have two twin 324mm launchers for Leonardo Whitehead MU90/Impact torpedoes. MU90 is a lightweight torpedo with a warhead of 32.7kg, a speed from 29 to maximum 50 knots (!), around 10km with maximum speed and 23km with minimum speed. The torpedo, is of fire-and-forget type and it has been designed to counter any type of nuclear or conventional submarine, acoustically coated, deep and fast-evasive, deploying active or passive anti-torpedo effectors while it has an extreme agility and maneuverability. In the main counter-counter measures are included stationary target detection capability, decoy classification and anti-jammer tactics. The torpedo equips also the Super Lynx helicopters for ASW operations. The torpedo is propelled by an electronically controlled high-RPM brush-less motor driving a skewed multi-blades pumpjet propulsor allowing a continuously variable torpedo speed automatically selected by the tactics of the weapon according to the scenario, the environment and the operational phase. 

Erradii frigate. Photo by D. Streich.
Erradii frigate. Photo by D. Streich.

Close-up photo of the torpedo launcher
The weapon, of extremely long endurance, operates without any speed degradation and any limitation of salinity and temperature in water depths in excess of 1,000m and as shallow as 25m, retaining navigation capability up to 3m. The advanced acoustic seeker features multi pre-formed transmission and reception beams. Its multi-frequency, parallel processing and simultaneous acoustic modes operation, allow multi-target tracking capability, high engagement distance, high performance in very shallow water providing the weapon with high immunity to the most advanced anti-torpedo countermeasures. Moreover, the very low radiated noise, achieved through the use of the most modern pump-jet technologies combined with an extended selection of torpedo preset parameters and proper tactics, allows a silent approach to the target minimising the alert range of even sophisticated submarine detection systems and increasing the overall killing probability of the weapon.

French Lynx helicopter launching an MU90 torpedo
Super Lynx 300 ASuW
Super Lynx 300 ASuW
The frigate deal included 6 AgustaWestland Super Lynx 300 maritime helicopters. Three of the Lynx helicopters are fitted for ASW operations thus they are equipped with Compact FLASH dipping sonars and carry MU90 torpedoes. The other three helicopters are for ASuW operations carrying eight Denel Mokopa air to surface missiles each in two quad-rail launchers or one quad-rail launcher and one M3M (GAU-21) 12.7mm heavy machine gun. 

Super Lynx 300 ASuW carrying Denel Mokopa missiles
Super Lynx 300 ASuW

Super Lynx 300 ASuW
Super Lynx 300 ASuW
The M3M provides defensive firepower ranging out to nearly 2000 meters with 1,100 rounds per minute cyclic rate of fire. Mokopa (Black mamba) is a long-range, precision-guided missile that utilises the semi-active laser guidance concept. Its high performance, large-calibre tandem warhead will destroy any foreseen armoured threat. It may also be used effectively against other high value ground, air or naval targets. The modular design of the missile allows for different warheads (e.g. penetration, fragmentation or anti-armour), optimised for the type of target. The Mokopa uses a powerful tandem shaped-charge, high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead, capable of penetrating over 1,350 mm (almost 4½ ft) of Rolled homogeneous armour (RHA), and also effective against Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA), in a range greater than 10km. Each ship can carry two Super Lynx in its hangar.
The large flight deck of El Moudamir
Super Lynx 300 ASW
Two Super Lynx 300 i nthe hangar
























Frigate Erradii, lead ship in the Algerian Navy MEKO A-200AN class


Seaboat
RHIB
There are also two boat bays port and starboard. The port bay accomodates one rigid-hulled inflatable boat (RHIB) and the starboard bay one seaboat. 




RHIB

MASS decoy launcher in action
MASS decoy launcher
Each ship is protected by four Rheinmetall multi-ammunition softkill systems (MASS). Two MASS decoy launchers are installed on the port side and two one starboard side of the frigate. The automatic decoy system MASS provides a unique level of protection against modern sensor-guided missiles. Programmable and omni-spectral, the system’s innovative ammunition provides protection in all relevant wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum. The launcher is connected to the ship's sensors and protects ships from attacks by advanced, sensor-guided missiles, by launching decoys, that operate in all relevant wavelengths on the electromagnetic spectrum (ultra violet, electro-optical, laser, infrared and radar). 

Frigate Erradii
Frigate Erradii
WASS decoy launcher
The Leonardo-Finmeccanica WASS anti-torpedo defence countermeasure launching system, in surface version (C310) is formed by a launching network with 8 barrels each. Each barrel is loaded with the relevant effector (Jammers or MTE) and consists of a launch tube, an air bottle and an electro-valve. The system assures the ejection at suitable distance of countermeasures that can both represent dummy mobile targets (MTE) and generate disturbance noise for the acoustic head of the enemy torpedo (Jammers). The combination of mobile decoys and jammers has the purpose of cheating the torpedo, which directs its attacks towards the dummy targets, thus allowing the ship to perform an evasive countermeasure. The definition of optimal reaction results using a elaboration software (ORACOM) that, based on multiple parameters, elaborates the more suitable operation to maximize surviving probabilities, even against last generation torpedoes with high potentials against countermeasures. 

Note the two WASS launcher boxes
The MEKO A-200s are very elegant and powerful ships
The launcher is capable to launch the effectors at several hundreds metres from the ship. Two such launching systems equip the Algerian ships. The C310 represent Defence Systems Division' high-performance anti-torpedo countermeasure system. The C310 is designed to cope with current and future generation of active and/or passive torpedoes, wire or non wire-guided, launched alone or in salvo mode. The jammer features a highly efficient transducer, covering the whole receiving bandwidth of any torpedo, with a switching power amplifier and high-energy density thermal battery. It generates a very high amount of energy spread over the entire reception band of the acoustic head of the torpedo. By emitting a high intensity broadband noise for a long time, the jammer masks the target echo as well as the target radiated noise, preventing target acquisition by any torpedo.The jammers are maintained at the operative depth by an air bag, after the flight phase. The MTE must draw any acoustic torpedo away from its real target. To achieve the deception effect the MTE uses a sophisticated transponder to simulate a real target, generating in real time acoustic responses to any multi-frequency coded pulse emitted by the torpedo. The echo structure is identical to the one of areal target (acoustic length, highlights). During its underwater run the MTE also radiates noise, in order to simulate a moving target. The noise radiation is performed independently from the emulation function. MTEs feature, over a wide band, a constant target strength, and are compatible with the jammers presence, even at short distance. After the flight phase, the MTE perform their underwater trajectory at the operative depth.

Hard-kill and soft-kill weapon systems of a MEKO A-200AN frigate. High resolution image here.

Rigel R-ESM
Rigel ECM jammer
The electronic warfare suite is Indra RIGEL. The RIGEL Radar EA (Electronic Attack, ECM) system’s family provides a platform with self-protection by means of jamming and deception countermeasure techniques against either single or multiple threats that are active on the whole 6-18 GHz frequency band (optional 0,5-18 GHz range, depending on selected configuration). Two similar jammers equip also the K130 corvettes (Braunschweig class) of the German Navy. The RIGEL Radar-ES (electronic support) system’s family provides high sensitivity detection, analysis, classification and identification of radar signals, as well as high accurate DF measurement within a wide band  instantaneous coverage, covering the whole 2-18 GHz frequency range (optional 0,5-40 GHz range, depending on the selected configuration). For more information about the systems capabilities and techniques read Rigel ES and EA Systems. The systems equip also various Spanish warships including the Meteoro class offshore patrol vessels.

SATCOM and port-side jammer
View of the sensors of a MEKO A-200AN frigate

The port-side jammer


















 
Saab CEROS 200 fire control system (FCS)
Saab CEROS 200 is a radar and optronic tracking fire control director designed for automatic target detection and lock-on, high acquisition speed and great tracking precision combined with the ability to track any target in any weather situation. The versatile CEROS 200 can track multiple supersonic missiles including advanced sea skimming missiles as well as surface targets extremely close to the ship such as asymmetric surface threats in littoral environments, and enables fast target switching. Moreover, CEROS 200 design incorporates many Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM). The CEROS 200 incorporates CHASE, a patented method for processing of the complex radar target return signal from a very low flying target such as sea skimming missiles, to eliminate multi-path effects. A prerequisite for the CHASE algorithm is the very wide RF-bandwidth of the tracking radar on the CEROS 200. The CHASE algorithm has been thoroughly tested in a wide range of sea states. The extensive testing proves that the radar tracking accuracy of the CHASE method against sea skimming targets is better than 0.2 mrad in calm sea and better than 0.4 mrad in rough sea. 

The rear Saab CEROS 200 fire control system (FCS)

View of the two masts
CEROS 200 and RBS15 Mk3 launchers
Combined with Saab’s gun fire control CEROS 200 provides unparalleled accuracy for gun engagements. The radar design incorporates many Electronic Counter-Countermeasures (ECCM) features: very low antenna side lobes, very wide bandwidth, a large number of transmit frequencies, random selection of frequency, lock on jam and track on jam. The CEROS has an instrumented range of more than 100km, exceeding the needs of almost any surface-to-air weapon. Two CEROS systems equip each frigate.

View of the masts and sensors of a MEKO A-200AN
EOS-500
EOS-500

Saab EOS-500 is a lightweight gyro stabilized electro-optical fire control director with high quality stabilization and advanced TV- and IR-cameras and Laser Range Finder (three electro-optical sensors in total) for observation, gun fire, missile laser guidance and target identification. Its total weight is 125kg. The modern modular design allows easy upgrades with new sensors. The inherent video tracker provides automatic detection of up to four concurrent threats, enabling the operator to change target within fractions of a second. EOS-500 is capable of high accuracy 3-D tracking all types of threats, including sea skimming missiles. The advanced Saab video tracker uses simultaneous input from the TV- and the IR- cameras in a data fusion process. The two (2) Saab CEROS 200 radar and optronic tracking systems and the EOS 500 optronic tracking system are the core of the frigates fire control capability and are fully integrated with the small and large calibre guns as well as the Surface to Surface (SSM) and Surface to Air (SAM) Missile systems providing unprecedented self defence capabilities against all modern symmetric and asymmetric threats.   

Ship's superstructure

Saab Sea Giraffe AMB multi-function radar
The Saab Sea Giraffe AMB is a medium range, multi-role surveillance 3D G-band radar optimized for detecting small air and surface targets with high update rate in all kinds of environments, including the littorals. It will assist the commander in all kind of naval warfare and give the operators maximum time to react to incoming threats. Its roles include: air surveillance and tracking, surface surveillance and tracking, target identification for weapon systems and high-resolution splash spotting. It can detect air and surface targets from the horizon up to a height of 20,000 metres (66,000 ft) at elevations up to 70°, and can simultaneously handle multiple threats approaching from different directions and altitudes, including diving anti-ship missiles. Also, it is specialized for rapidly detecting small, fast moving targets at all altitudes and small surface targets in severe clutter. The radar has an instrumented range of 180km. 

The forward mast
Sperry Marine navigation radar
Each ship carries two Sperry Marine (Northrop Grumman) VisionMaster FT X-band and one S-band navigation radars, some of the most advanced radars in this category. The radars offer a user friendly interface, an advanced automatic clutter suppression for outstanding small target detection, target tracking capability of 100 radar targets and 240 AIS targets, integrated route planning and trail maneuver for safe navigation, multi-layer user defined radar maps and clear radar images in extreme weather conditions. Automatic clutter suppression technology makes it easier for watch keepers to identify small, weak targets in the presence of sea or rain clutter without manually adjusting gain or clutter controls. 
Al lthe navigation radars are visible in this picture
The rear Sperry Marine radar
The forward Sperry Marien radars
VisionMaster FT Radars automatically acquire and track targets at relative speeds up to 150 knots, allowing the watch keeper time to address any other requirements of the bridge rather than manually acquiring targets. Targets can be acquired by either two annular acquisition zones or two operator-configured polygon zones. Digital controlled inter-switching allows the interface of up to six transceivers to up to six displays, resulting in screen redundancy and flexibility in user operations. The Dual-Channel option provides the ability to display data from two independent transceivers onto the same screen and targets can be tracked on both channels. The overlapping of the information from the two radars eliminates any blind spots that may occur when a single radar is restricted providing unsurpassed situational awareness.  

ATLAS ASO bow-mounted sonar

The console
ASO sonars
The Erradiis are equipped with the Atlas ELEKTRONIK ASO hull-mounted sonar (more likely the 723 type). ASO is designed for active and passive operations in the medium frequency band with the main focus on surveillance of the underwater situation, such as detection, classification and tracking of targets. With the ability of different operational modes and parameter settings, ASO systems are optimised for the detection of targets from littoral (shallow) to blue (deep) waters. Advanced processing methods ensure their efficient use for classic ASW tasks as well as self-protection of the surface combatant. The ASO sonar is capable to detect:„ submarines, midget- and mini-submarines„„, small underwater vehicles, such as AUV, and UUV, Diver Delivery Vehicles„„ (DDV), torpedoes„„, moored mines and underwater obstacles, surface vessels, speed boats, etc. Superior performance is ensured by providing a high source level, high dynamic range and a large bandwidth. Various analysis tools are incorporated to support the target classification. Active operation can be operated in ODT (omni-directional) or RDT (directional) modes with the possibility to limit the transmission and reception to a sector only. The electronic beam stabilisation and a tilt function for transmission compensate the ship‘s movement. Focus has been laid on the sonar‘s detection capability of torpedoes with a „passive while active“ operation capability. The automatic torpedo warning function works continuously in the background and generates torpedo alerts automatically for upcoming torpedoes.For self defence the sonar is capable to detect small moving underwater objects and moored mines. There is option also for a towed sonnar array after stern modifications.

Some of the Atlas CMS users

The ATLAS CMS consoles
The ATLAS group, among other classes, depicts a MEKO A-200 silhouette that is equipped, since 2015, with the company's combat management system (CMS). Thus, the ships do not feature the Thales CMS as the majority of the sources mention but the Atlas ANCS CMS, responsible for the precise, selective and flexible engagement of enemy forces, tactical fire support from sea to land, support for special forces, the combating of asymmetric threats, as well as joint and multinational operations with prolonged availability in operational areas all over the world. Atlas has designed the ANCS user interface together with operators of the German Navy based on a ‘user centric’ approach. Limited human resources and space within the Combat Information Centre and redundancy requirements do not permit the usage of dedicated consoles to support operation of integrated sub-systems and related tactical functions. Instead ANCS uses Multi-Function Consoles capable of running the user interface of any implemented tactical function. Therefore all subsystems are able to be controlled from any of the consoles.

View of the bridge's interior

LWR atop the bridge. Notice the
covered TDS
View of the bridge
Unidentified laser warning receivers equip the ship, two sets forward and two aft for the total coverage of the platform. This is a threat warning system responsible to detect, classify, identify and give warning of hostile laser threats aiming on the platform. I believe the system is a variant of Saab's naval laser-warning system (NLWS).The ships equip among others tactical data link communication systems (Link 11, Link 16 and possibly Link 22), TACAN, CCTV system, Target Designation Sights (TDS), UWT, IFF system, GPS, LAN, ECDIS/WECDIS, HF/UHF/VHF communication terminals and Integrated Platform Control Monitoring System (IPMS) that integrates the power management system, fire detection system, fire fighting and damage control system, CCTV system and stability control system. To conclude, the ships in the class are equipped with a very heavy armament and rich electronic equipment while the have the potential to be upgraded with more lethal systems (such as CIWS, long-range Ukhmonto, etc.) and more sensors (variable depth sonar). It will be very interesting to see in the future what kind of equipment the Egyptian frigates will carry.


I would like to mention that an important number of photos was found at www.forcesdz.com, a great website with plenty of photos and information on Algerian Armed Forces!

Erradii class frigate of the Algerian National Navy

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