“Hessen” back – Kaack calls for more frigates

The frigate “Hessen” has returned to Wilhelmshaven from its deployment in the Red Sea. Naval inspector Kaack calls for two more frigates.

According to the German Armed Forces, the frigate ” Hessen” provided escort for a total of 27 merchant ships during its deployment in the Red Sea and repelled four attacks by the Houthi movement. It was the first combat mission with live weapons in the history of the German Navy. [ds_preview]

Fregatte Hessen, Rotes Meer, Einsatz, Rückkehr
The crew of the frigate “Hessen” salutes on arrival (© German Navy)

The “Hessen” covered around 25,000 nm during its participation in the EU mission “Aspides” and will now be withdrawn; the German Navy does not plan to deploy another ship, the “Hamburg”, until August. According to Der Spiegel, the Greek commander of the EU mission has called for more warships to protect the international merchant fleet. Only three frigates will be available in the coming months. In reality, however, at least ten warships and additional air support are needed to fulfil the mission.

Kaack calls for two more frigates to be ordered

Fregatte Hessen, Rotes Meer, Aspides, Huthi
The German frigate “Hessen” guides a ship through the Red Sea (@ BundeswehrImEinsatz)

Naval inspector Kaack has spoken out in favour of ordering two more frigates for the naval forces. Among other things, the Vice Admiral referred to a changed security situation and the importance of the German Navy for the protection of critical infrastructure.

Construction of the first F126 class frigate began in December. Four frigates have been financed, but there is an option for two more ships, which will cost a similar amount to the units in the first series. “I believe it is absolutely essential that Germany takes up this option and orders these two frigates,” said Kaack. Any delay would lead to an increase in costs, according to Kaack. Operationally, the two additional ships are necessary in view of the threats expected in the coming years.

Navy needs a total of six frigates

The Vice Admiral referred to the “mathematics of the navy”: one ship must be ready for combat, one on the way to combat readiness and one undergoing maintenance. “In this respect, a number of six Class 126 frigates are needed to secure Germany’s missions in the North Atlantic, in the long-range hunt for nuclear submarines, but also in the protection of critical maritime infrastructure – also worldwide.

The four units of the F126 class are being built by a consortium of Damen (Netherlands) and Thales (France). Numerous German suppliers and the shipyards in Wolgast (Peene) and Hamburg (Blohm+Voss) are also involved in the project. According to Damen Shipyards, the first new frigate is due to be delivered in 2028. The cost of all four ships is more than €5bn.

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Caption: The frigate "Hessen" on her return to Wilhelmshaven (© Marine)