Surface Forces: May 9, 2002


The German Navy's decision to replace its S143 and S148 fast attack craft (FAC) with a new class of larger K130 corvettes marks a major change. The S143/148 types were designed for local defense of the Baltic Coast; while the K130s are designed for deployment to support international missions outside of the normal NATO operating area. The K130 is based on the export frigate design designated MEKO-A100. The K130s are able to remain at sea for seven days without replenishment and 21 days with some supplies delivered by helicopter. While the K130s are optimized for littoral (coastal) combat, they are capable of open ocean deployment and can make 15 knots even in Sea State Five. Each corvette is provided with two unmanned aerial vehicles to provide over-the-horizon observation. The K130s include a 76mm gun (taken from the decommissioned FACs), two MLG-27 light guns, two 21-cell Rolling Airframe Missile launchers, RBS15 anti-ship missiles, and two four-cell launchers for the Polyphem fiber-optic guided missile. A torpedo defense system will be added to the ships after 2008. While the ships will not carry helicopters, they have facilities to land and refuel a helicopter of up to 12 tons. The German Navy wants fifteen K130s, but is only ordering five at this time and it is unclear if funding for all of the rest will be forthcoming. The S148s will be sold to Egypt at the end of 2002; the S143s will be retired in 2006. The K130s come into service starting in 2007.--Stephen V Cole


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