The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan
More Books by James Dunnigan
Dirty Little Secrets
Who Has the Best Frigates?
Discussion Board on this DLS topic
by Harold C. Hutchison
June 6, 2005
Who has the best frigate class ships? This is a tough question, because frigates
these days come in a number of different forms. Some of the most modern frigates
today have become very capable multi-mission ships, a contrast with the
original frigates, which were considered an evolved destroyer escort, a World
War II design intended for escorting convoys and hunting submarines.
of the modern designs have come out of Europe. For instance, let’s look at
Germany’s Sachsen-class frigates. These ships displace 5,690 tons, reach a top
speed of 53 kilometers per hour, have a 32-cell vertical-launch system with a
mix of SM-2 missiles and Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, eight Harpoon anti-ship
missiles, a 76mm gun, two Lynx helicopters, and six 12.75-inch torpedo tubes.
This ship is twice the size of World War II destroyers, and four times the size
of World War II frigates. Some say that ships like this are called “frigates” in
Europe because the label “destroyer” sounds too, well, warlike.
Netherlands have their own design, the De Zeven Provincien-class frigates.
Displacing 5,680 tons, with a top speed of 55 kilometers per hour, and armed
with a 40-cell VLS with SM-2 and ESSM, a five-inch gun, eight Harpoons, four
12.75-inch torpedo tubes, a single Lynx helicopter, and two Goalkeeper close-in
defense guns, four of these ships have been built to replace two Tromp-class
Spain has the Bazan-class frigates. Displacing 4,555 tons,
these frigates have a 48-cell VLS with SM-2 and ESSM, eight Harpoons, a Meroka
close-in weapons system, and four 12.75-inch torpedo tubes. They operate one
Seahawk helicopter. They can reach a top speed of 52.8 kilometers per
India operates three Talwar-class frigates (built in Russia). These
frigates displace 3,300 tons, and are equipped with eight Klub missiles
(anti-ship, land-attack, or anti-submarine), a single launcher that can fire the
SA-N-7 Gadfly, a 100mm gun, four 21-inch torpedo tubes, two CADS-N-1 systems
(with two 30mm Gatling guns and eight SA-N-11 missiles), and a single Helix
helicopter. These frigates can hit 59 kilometers per hour.
two modern classes of frigates: The Jiangwei-class frigates displace 1,700 tons,
with six or eight C-802 anti-ship missiles, an HQ-61 surface-to-air system (a
six-round launcher in the Jiangwei I, an eight-round launcher with eight reloads
in the Jiangwei II), a twin 100mm-gun, four twin 37mm guns, two ASW
rocket-launchers, and a Z-9 helicopter. The Ma An Shan-class (or Jaingkai) is
twice that size (3,500 tons), armed with sixteen C-803 missiles, an eight-round
HQ-61 launcher, four 30mm Gatling guns (possibly along the lines of the
Goalkeeper or AK-630), six 12.75-inch torpedo tubes, and the ability to carry a
single Z-9 or Helix. The Jiangweis can reach 50.4 kilometers per hour, and the
Ma An Shan can reach 50 kilometers per hour.
Finally there are two
classes of frigates in Australian service. The Adelaide-class frigates were
Perry-class frigates, but unlike the American Perry-class frigates, which have
has their Mk 13 launchers removed, the Australians have upgraded these frigates
to carry the SM-2 anti-aircraft missile, and eight VLS cells have been added,
carrying 32 ESSM anti-ship missiles. The other Australian frigate is the Anzac
class. This class, which displaces 3,300 tons, has an eight-round VLS for Sea
Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles (eventually to carry the ESSM in quad-packs), a
five-inch gun, and six 12.75-inch torpedo tubes. The Anzacs will eventually get
eight Harpoons and a Phalanx close-in weapon system. The Adelaides can reach 53
kilometers per hour, the Anzacs can reach 50 kilometers per hour.
best frigates are probably the Spanish Bazan-class frigates, although the
upgraded Australian Adelaides are no slouch. The Bazans have the most powerful
anti-air system, and carry a Seahawk helicopter (arguably one of the best in the
world). The Adelaide-class frigates, however, are a poignant and haunting
reminder of what the United States Navy could have made with their Perry class