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Germany approves additional ESSM buy for German Navy frigates

The German parliament's budget committee has approved the purchase of additional ESSMs for the German Navy's Sachsen-class guided-missile frigates. (Michael Nitz)

The German federal parliament's budget committee has authorised the procurement of an initial tranche of RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missiles (ESSMs) for the German Navy's Type 124 Sachsen-class guided-missile frigates.

The procurement proposal is worth in excess of EUR25 million (USD27.53 million) and the scope of supply also covers launch containers, transport containers, and spare parts.

In a 20 April statement, the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the initial order would be followed by a second tranche of ESSMs in 2024 to fully equip the Type 124 frigates, as well as the Type 126-class frigates currently under construction.

In the future, the intention is still to equip the Type 123 Brandenburg-class frigates with the ESSM, the MoD said.

The German Navy operates three Type 124 Sachsen-class frigates, which have been in service since 2004–05. Each is armed with a 32-cell Mk 41 vertical launching system (VLS) equipped with 32 Raytheon RIM-162B ESSM Block I (quad-packed per cell) and 24 Standard Missile-2 Block IIA surface-to-air missiles. First-of-class FGS Sachsen had its Mk 41 VLS irreparably damaged in 2018, and this was scheduled to be replaced from about 2023.

Germany's four Type 126 frigates (with an option for two more), which are being delivered by a Damen/Lürssen team under a contract awarded in 2020, will each be equipped with a 16-cell Mk 41 VLS carrying up to 64 ESSM Block II missiles (quad-packed). Construction of the lead ship is set to start in Germany from around 2023, with deliveries scheduled to take place from 2028 to 2031.

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