The German frigate Sachsen (Saxony) (F219), has recently completed installation of the replacement launcher, five years after an erroneous firing of the SM-2 medium-range missile disabled the VLS Mk 41 launcher. This is mainly because Deutsche Marine decided to wait for the scheduled maintenance period to replace the system (i.e., the vessel was needed, and money was tight).
The missile launcher systems are installed at the same time as the ship is built. At Sachsen, this weapon system was damaged beyond repair during a live ammunition exercise. This made it necessary to replace the launcher completely. After a long road, the ship finally received the new vertical launch system (VLS) in the naval arsenal.
The system consists of a total of four sections (modules) that have been inserted into the designated axis of the air defense frigate “Sachsen.”
The Bundeswehr’s procurement office commissioned the so-called government purchase in the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) process through the United States government.
The acquisition of new modules involves a long application process, in addition to the production of the modules and the transportation route.
Since the Bundeswehr does not have its own launch modules for this weapon system that could be installed, the scope of the delivery services first had to be precisely defined. This took several months due to German and American procurement procedures. The production of the modules alone took several months after the contract was signed.
The transportation of this weapon from the United States to the Wilhelmshaven naval arsenal took another six months. The installation was carried out during the ship’s planned repairs to avoid unnecessary docking times.
Following physical installation, the system must be electrically and software integrated into the frigate’s F124 weapons and operations system. To this end, a special test and acceptance program will be carried out once the corresponding operating system components are reintegrated once the “Saxony” is docked. This process lasts several weeks and ends with a “live shot” with a missile. However, these can only be carried out at the end of the ongoing maintenance 2024.
If the frigate “Saxony” successfully passes all the necessary tests, it will be ready to be used again in its planned mission of large-scale air surveillance and anti-aircraft defense.