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Saturday 31 July 2021

INFOGRAPHICS #49: Mid-Life Upgrades of Brandenburg class and Barbaros class

This post provides information about the mid-life upgrade (MLU) programs of the German Navy Brandenburg class frigates and the Turkish Navy Barbaros class frigates.
  • Brandenburg-class (F123) MLU
Frigate Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Kiel. Photo: D-Mitch
On July 30, 2021, Saab signed a contract with the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw), and has received an order to deliver and integrate new naval radars and fire control directors for and in the German Navy’s Frigates of the Brandenburg-Class (F123). The contract includes a new combat management system in order to completely overhaul the system currently in use on the F123, allowing a low risk integration of the new naval radars and fire control capabilities. The order value is approximately 4,6 billion SEK. Deliveries and other services will take place between 2021 and 2030.
Saab will be the prime contractor and will contract the German shipyard Abeking & Rasmussen for the shipbuilding work while the German company ESG will carry out logistical support.
Modernized Brandenburg-class (F123) frigate of the German Navy. HR image here

Harpoon SSM launchers of frigate Bayern
"We are proud that Germany has selected Saab as the combat system provider and integrator for the frigates to be overhauled. We look forward to contributing to strengthening Germany’s domestic combat systems integration capability, creating a high proportion of value and service provision in Germany. This contract will further strengthen our relationship with Germany for many years to come," says Micael Johansson, Saab’s President and CEO.
The contract includes delivery and integration of Saab's 9LV CMS, Sea Giraffe 4A (will replace LW-08) and Sea Giraffe 1X (will replace SMART-S) radars (Sea Giraffe Multi Sensor Solution), Ceros 200 (will replace STIR) FCR as well as third party systems, including IFF capability. Note that new Pohjanmaa-class corvettes of the Finnish Navy, will be equipped also with the Sea Giraffe Multi Sensor Solution, which features Sea Giraffe 1X and a fixed-face version of Sea Giraffe 4A. The German contract also includes a comprehensive, performance-based logistics package supporting the frigates’ operational capabilities. Saab will carry out the work in Germany, Sweden and Australia. 
Helmsand, one of the trial and evaluation platforms for
new equipment in use by
Bundeswehr here testing
new IFF radar to be integrated with F123s

The MLU will include also NLWS, TDLs, C-ESM and other subsystems. The ships will be fitted with NSM SSM in the future that will replace the Harpoon ones (replaced the obsolete MM38 Exocet).



  • Barbaros-class (MEKO 200TNII) MLU

TCG Salihreis today. Photo: Ertugrul Birel
The Barbaros class frigates ( MEKO 200TN Tack IIA and IIB) were partially upgraded locally during the 2012-2015 time frame with the replacement of the old AWS-9/Type 996 with the Thales SMART-S Mk2 and the replacement of the 8-cell Mk-29 Sea Sparrow launcher with 8-cell Mk-41 VLS for 32 ESSMs on TCG Barbaros and TCG Oruçreis of Track IIA vessels, while the existing 16-cell Mk-41 VLSs on TCG Salihreis and TCG Kemalreis  were upgraded to Baseline VII configuration. The Salihreis frigates received also the Aselsan’s SATCOM antennas and a shipboard helicopter landing system, the Aircraft Ship Integrated Secure and Traverse (ASIST). Thanks to the Baseline VII upgrade the number of RIM-162B Block I ESSMs on Track IIB Frigates were increased to 64 (but, due to total weight, capacity and stability issues the frigates usually are armed with a mix of 32 ESSM and 8 Sea Sparrow SAM.
A contract 
signed on 9 August 2018 for the MLU of the ships. The MLU is scheduled to be completed by 2024. 

Modernized Barbaros-class (MEKO 200TNIIA/B) frigate of the Turkish Navy. HR image here.

A Barbaros-class FFG after the MLU
Under the contract, the existing Combat Management System (STACOS Mod 3/TACTICOS) will be replaced by a new Genesis variant CMS namely ‘ADVENT’, and some of the existing weapons/sensors will be replaced with new ones on a one-to-one basis. In this context, the AWS-06 Dolphin radar is expected to be replaced with Aselsan’s MAR-D AESA radar, Sea Guard CIWS system (with its directors and the three Sea Zenith four-barrelled 25mm gun mounts) is expected to be replaced with a Korkut-D (naval version Gökdeniz) twin 35mm CIWS installed on B-position replacing a Sea Zenith system and a Phalanx Block1B Baseline 2 atop the hangar plus two of Aselsan’s 25mm STOP stabilized gun systems (at the aft section, at starboard and port). The existing AN/SQS-56 HMS will be replaced by the new generation active/passive FERSAH (indigenously developed by Aselsan and Armelsan) HMS, existing AN/SLQ-25 Nixie TDS will be replaced by Aselsan’s HIZIR TDS, Aselsan’s ARES-2N R-ESM (one ARES-2N V2 system below the SMART-S Mk2 and two antennas for different band on both sides of the mast) and AREAS-2NC R-ECM will replace the existing Cutlas-1B and Scorpion-B systems respectively and an indigenous 127mm (5/54) Gun Fire Control System will be integrated on the vessels. Two UMTAS ATGM launchers will be installed at each side of the Gökdeniz CIWS. The forward lattice mast has been replaced by a new solid mast that will include the SMART-S Mk 2 radar (which is currently located on the main mast), the EW suite, new navigation/LPI radars, PIRI-KATS IRST suite, and others. The frigates will also be integrated with Aselsan’s G-LIS NLWS, PIRI IRST system and two dual-band FCRs (AKR-D Block-B2, X and Ka-Band radar with 120km range) for the ESSM. The MLU Contract also includes an option for the integration of Armelsan’s ARAS-2023 Diver Detection Sonar System on four vessels. 

Barbaros-class FFG MLU maquette in IDEF 2021.
Photo: Arda Mevlutoglu

The MLU is designed to extend the Barbaros-class frigates’ operational life until 2040s when they are planned to be replaced by a new design. The ship will carry 16 anti-ship missiles. From the graphs and maquettes we can clearly see that there are two types of SSM launchers; two quad for Atmaca and two quad for the Harpoon which are currently carried. Note that there is space above the SATCOM radome for an AREAS-2N ECM system when this will become available. If this ambitious plan takes place, then the Turkish variant will be the heaviest armed MEKO 200 variant worldwide.


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