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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 6:57 pm 
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The German Navy was hit by the same "expeditionary" fad as everyone else. Now they have to pick up the pieces...like everyone else. The only thing differentiating the various European countries in this regard is where in the cycle they are, I fear that Germany is only now hitting the low point before moving towards better times, some countries have already passed this point.
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By William Wilkes
Jan. 12, 2018 5:30 a.m. ET
548 COMMENTS
BERLIN—Germany’s naval brass in 2005 dreamed up a warship that could ferry marines into combat anywhere in the world, go up against enemy ships and stay away from home ports for two years with a crew half the size of its predecessor’s.

First delivered for sea trials in 2016 after a series of delays, the 7,000-ton Baden-Württemberg frigate was determined last month to have an unexpected design flaw: It doesn’t really work.

Defense experts cite the warship’s buggy software and ill-considered arsenal—as well as what was until recently its noticeable list to starboard—as symptoms of deeper, more intractable problems: Shrinking military expertise and growing confusion among German leaders about what the country’s armed forces are for.

A litany of bungled infrastructure projects has tarred Germany’s reputation for engineering prowess. There is still no opening date for Berlin’s new €6 billion ($7.2 billion) airport, which is already 10 years behind schedule, and the redesign of Stuttgart’s railway station remains stalled more than a decade after work on the project started. Observers have blamed these mishaps on poor planning and project management, which also figured in major setbacks for several big military projects.

Germany's Main Warship Puts On Weight But Loses Punch
German's next-generation F-125 frigate is supposed to replace the F-122, but naval experts say it lacks the firepower to defend Baltic sea lanes against the Russian navy or to counter well-armed terrorists.

F-125

F-122

(Newer)

(Older)

2018

1982

(First commissioned)

(Likely first commission date)

€260 million

€650 million

Estimated cost per unit

4

8

(Peak number in service)

(Planned)

3,860

7,000

Weight in metric tons

219

120

Crew

= 10

35 knots

30 knots

Top speed

2

2

Harpoon anti-ship missile batteries

2

2

RAM anti-aircraft missile batteries

0

16

Sea Sparrow anti-aircraft missiles

0

4

Torpedo tubes

76mm

127mm

Main naval gun (diameter)

12

24

Maximum deployment time (months)

Sources: staff reports;
German Defense Ministry (cost estimates)
Photos: Ann-Kathrin Fischer/Bundeswehr (F-122); Carsten Vennemann/Bundeswehr (F-125)
But experts say military efforts have also been hampered by the lack of a strategic vision for Germany’s armed forces, resulting in vague, hard-to-execute briefs. Before the frigate project foundered, a contract to build a new helicopter hit snags, costs for a new rifle overran and an ambitious drone project simply failed to get off the ground.

German military procurement is “one hell of a complete disaster,” said Christian Mölling, a defense-industry expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations in Berlin. “It will take years to sort this problem out.”

The naval fiasco, on a project with a €3 billion price tag, is particularly startling since Europe’s largest exporter relies on open and secure shipping lanes to transport its goods.

Above, the construction site of the Stuttgart 21 railway station project, which is long overdue. Below, part of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport under construction in Schönefeld last year. Also way behind schedule, it still has no opening date.
Above, the construction site of the Stuttgart 21 railway station project, which is long overdue. Below, part of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport under construction in Schönefeld last year. Also way behind schedule, it still has no opening date. PHOTO: THOMAS NIEDERMUELLER/GETTY IMAGES
German Engineering Yields New Warship That Isn’t Fit for Sea
PHOTO: FELIPE TRUEBA/EPA-EFE
The F-125 frigate program was supposed to deliver Germany’s four largest military ships of the postwar era, fitted with cutting-edge software allowing high operability with a skeleton crew.

But after the ship failed sea trials last month, naval officials refused to commission it. The German Navy said the Baden-Württemberg’s central computer system—the design centerpiece allowing it to sail with a smaller crew—didn’t pass necessary tests. The Kieler Nachrichten, a daily in the German Baltic fleet’s home port of Kiel, has reported problems with its radar, electronics and the flameproof coating on its fuel tanks. The vessel was also found to list to the starboard, a flaw a project spokesman says has been corrected. The Baden-Württemberg is now set to return to port next week for an “extended period,” the navy said.


A spokesman for Thyssenkrupp, the lead company on the project, said it still planned to deliver the ship this year. “The frigate-class 125 is a newly designed, technically sophisticated ship with highly complex new developments—including new technologies,” the spokesman said. “Delays can never be completely ruled out.”

A spokesman for the military procurement office said it was levying financial penalties from Thyssenkrupp for late delivery, but he declined to provide further details.

Even if the ship can be fixed, however, some naval experts worry it would struggle to defend itself against terrorist groups supplied with antiship missiles. And in the face of a Russian naval buildup in the Baltic Sea, it lacks its predecessor’s sonar and torpedo tubes, making it a sitting duck for submarines.

Those failings, they say, result from Germany’s military brass never settling on a defined brief for the vessel.

When planning began in 2003, naval staff wanted an all-rounder that could tangle with Russian destroyers in the Baltic and serve as a base for humanitarian missions in tropical waters. Then, in 2005, they decided the ship didn’t need all of its predecessor’s heavy weaponry and should focus more on attacking enemies on land, including by ferrying marines into combat. Given Russia’s aggressive stance in the Baltic Sea, naval experts say that now appears to have been a miscalculation. The ship’s great weight—already almost twice that of the frigate model it is replacing—makes adding further weapons very difficult.

“These problems stem from Germany not having a strategic vision for its military,” said Ronja Kempin, defense-industry expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin.

The Russian 'Thyphoon'-class nuclear submarine Dmitrij Donskoj plowing through Danish waters in July on its way through the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg.
The Russian 'Thyphoon'-class nuclear submarine Dmitrij Donskoj plowing through Danish waters in July on its way through the Baltic Sea to St. Petersburg. PHOTO: SARAH CHRISTINE NOERGFAARD/SCANPIX DENMARK/EPA
Defense experts say the frigate fiasco also shows the navy, German military engineers and the government’s defense-procurement body, after years without big projects to manage, has lost the expertise to bring these to fruition.

“Too complicated, too ambitious, too badly managed.” Marcel Dickow, a weapons-procurement expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs in Berlin, said of the frigate. “They threw money at the project without thinking it through.”

The spokesman for Germany’s military procurement office said while the ship project posed an “enormous challenge” for the contractors, ​its design specifications were “unambiguous and precise.” He added that the contractors have to solve outstanding problems with the vessel. “The [German military] will not take over the ship until all acceptance trials have been successfully completed,” he said.

German military spending is now rising rapidly to meet the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s agreed commitment of 2% of gross domestic product. The defense budget is set to climb to €38.5 billion in 2018 from €37 billion in 2017 and €35.1 billion in 2016.

‘There’s a whole generation of German engineers who haven’t worked on a major defense project. It’s not that they lost this skill; they never learned it.’

—Christian Mölling, German Council on Foreign Relations
But this growth follows years of fiscal attrition that have degraded the government’s capacity to manage ambitious military projects. And while German firms like Heckler & Koch AG and Rheinmetall are market leaders in rifles, tanks and howitzers, competence in larger, more complex systems has eroded during the lean years.

”There’s a whole generation of German engineers who haven’t worked on a major defense project,” said Mr. Mölling, the defense expert. “It’s not that they lost this skill; they never learned it.”

Engineering graduates shun weapons manufacturers in favor of “sexier” employers like conglomerate Siemens AG or car maker BMW AG, which offer better pay and career prospects, according to Mr. Mölling.

Likewise, defense companies have failed to attract the graduates needed to develop sophisticated new systems that are increasingly centered on software, said Sandro Gaycken, a director at the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin.

Berlin could have bought warships from U.S., U.K. or French shipyards, but the government chose German bidders to buoy employment at German shipyards, according to Ms. Kempin, the defense expert.

Kiel-based naval engineer Lothar Dannenberg, who wasn’t involved directly in the frigate project, blamed its failures largely on what he said was the incompetence of the procurement office. “We were left shaking our heads,” he said.

Write to William Wilkes at william.wilkes@wsj.com

Appeared in the January 13, 2018, print edition as 'Germans Engineer Faulty Warship.'

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 13, 2018 9:26 pm 
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Did the MOD train their procurement office, perchance ??

FWIW, UK's Carillion seems hard-aground, which is, um, odd given the size and number of their civil engineering & construction contracts...

They're now some-where between 'Too Big To Fail' and 'Buy Them for Pittance'...

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 12:38 am 
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Citing here one of Kevin's perspectives on warship design, with the F-125, the Germans tried to stuff 10 pounds of Smarties into a 5 pound bag.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:13 pm 
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We can always call it the prototype of the third class of LCS, can't we?

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:55 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
We can always call it the prototype of the third class of LCS, can't we?

Actually, she's a bit more like the HDMS Absalon that has been gold-plated, then had platinum plating applied to the gold and then diamond highlights applied to the platinum, all while the design team are in the final stages of delirium tremens. If the German Navy wanted to, they could have had a class of three Absalons for the cost of one F-125.

The idea, as the Danes executed it is actually quite a good one. Essentially a modern version of the WW2 APD. It's the execution of F-125 that is so unspeakably awful.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:15 pm 
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The Danes has built a very clever expeditionary fleet on a limited budget.
Unfortunately now as the pendulum has swung back towards high intensity warfare in the Baltic Sea they too find themselves trying to fix capabilities that were axed to pay for said expeditionary fleet.

Cutting away the ASW capability and the submarine force is turning out to be a bit of a problematic decision now for instance.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:34 pm 
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M.Becker wrote:
We can always call it the prototype of the third class of LCS, can't we?


I thought the same

I think the German Navy must have sent their design teams and procurement officers over here for training...

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 5:40 am 
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Speaking of Denmark...
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Denmark will increase defense spending to counter Russia: PM

(Reuters) - The Danish government expects to win backing for a substantial increase in defense spending next month, to counter Russia's intensified military activity in eastern and northern Europe, the NATO-member's prime minister said Monday.

Denmark last week deployed 200 troops to a UK-led NATO mission in Estonia aimed at deterring Russia from attacking the Baltic NATO members.

Russia annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula in 2014 and backs separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine in a war that has killed more than 10,000 people.

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"Russia's behavior has created an unpredictable and unstable security environment in the Baltic Sea region," Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said at a joint news conference with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis on Monday in Riga.

"When I received (Vladimir) Putin in Copenhagen during my first term as prime minister back in 2010, everybody thought that it would be the beginning of a new and much better and much more friendly cooperation between Europe and Russia. And that we could decrease our military spending," he said.

"But given the Russian aggression and what happened in Crimea, I think we simply have to be realistic about things and invest more in our security."

In 2016, Russia moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M missiles to its enclave of Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea and deployed its S-400 air missile defense system there.

In April last year, Denmark said Russia had hacked its defense computer network and gained access to employees' emails in 2015 and 2016.

Russia has accused the West of "whipping up hysteria" over its recent military exercises.

Denmark's center-right minority government needs to persuade parliament to back a proposed 20-percent hike of the defense budget over a five-year period. Rasmussen said he expected a "very big majority" to do so.

"We want to look at ourselves as a core NATO member. And in order to behave like such a member, we need to increase our expenditures," he said, adding that the Danish military needed a "substantial increase".

"Five years ago we thought that the defense line, so to speak, would not be in Europe, but would be international operations. Now we realize that we need to have the capability to do both," he said.

(Reporting by Gederts Gelzis; writing by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; editing by Andrew Roche)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 10:24 am 
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The whole concept of the F 125 is für die Tonne, as we say here. About fifteen years out of date and geared towards crisis management and not all-out war.

That kind of national(ist) thinking has to stop.
Then again, I cannot remember any warship class since 1990 that has been on time and within budget, as the legal situation enables the contractor firms to milk the BMVg for all it's worth for subpar work. I remember the K 130 getting a gearbox that was seawater-soluble :facepalm: . A run-of-the-mill olive-drab middle class car reportedly goes for almost double its civilian listed price, give or take a few percent.

What is now the BAAINBw was once the BWB, jokingly called the Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Bestechung (Federal Office for Defence Tech and Corruption) unstead of Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung (...Procurement). I wonder why...
It would have been better to buy a few Type 45s off the Brits or a few Horizons off the Frogs and Spaghettis, FFS.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 11:01 am 
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There have been a lot of reports about poor workmanship, excessive cost overruns and programs running late in the German defense industry recently. These go way beyond the usual levels and it seems as if something has gone badly wrong. The inability of the German shipbuilders to convince Australia that they could deliver on time was one reason why TKMS lost the Australian SSK contract to France (and to Japan, TKMS came in third out of three finalists). That severely hit the German position in the submarine industry and is the sort of loss that echoes around the industry for years.

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