The F124 Sachsen air defense frigate class consists of three ships, ordered by the German government in 1996 to replace the old Lütjens-class destroyers, and is among the most advanced air defense frigates of the German Navy. The class is based on its predecessor the F123 Brandenburg but is focused on more advanced stealth capabilities. The three frigates include the lead ship F219 Sachsen commissioned in 2003, followed by F220 Hamburg commissioned in 2004, and finally F221 Hessen commissioned in 2006.
The ships are 469 feet (143m) long, the beam is 57.2 feet (17.44m) and the draft is 16 feet (5m), with a full displacement of 5,780 tons. The ships were built using the MEKO modular construction and incorporate seven watertight compartments, allowing for easy maintenance and upgrades in the future. The frigates have a crew of 38 officers, 64 petty officers, and 140 enlisted sailors, and have accommodations for an additional 13 officers and sailors as part of a squadron commander's staff. The ships can remain at sea without resupply for 21 days at a time.
The ships of the Sachsen class are powered by a combined diesel and gas (CODAG) propulsion system. The two operating shafts work independently, each driving two five-bladed variable-pitch propellers. The General Electric LM2500 PF/MLG gas turbine is rated at 31,500 shaft horsepower and the MTU 20V 1163 TB93 diesels provide a combined 20,100 brake horsepower. The total 51,600 hp propulsion system provides a top speed of 29 knots (54 km/h; 33 mph); while operating the diesels only, the ships can cruise for 4,000 nautical miles (7,400 km; 4,600 mi) at a speed of 18 kn (33 km/h; 21 mph).
The primary anti-air weapons are the 32-cell Mk 41 Mod 10 vertical launching system, equipped with twenty-four SM-2 Block IIIA missiles and thirty-two Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles. Point-defense against cruise missiles is provided by a pair of 21-round Rolling Airframe Missile launchers. The ships are also equipped with two four-cell RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile launchers. For defense against submarines, the frigates carry two triple-launchers for the 324 mm (12.8 in) MU90 Impact torpedoes. The ships also carry a variety of guns, including one dual-purpose 62-caliber 76-millimeter (3 in) gun manufactured by OTO Melara. They are also armed with two Rheinmetall 27 mm (1.1 in) MLG 27 remote-controlled autocannons in single mounts.
The primary sensors for the electronic countermeasure’s role are the long-range surveillance radar SMART-L and the multi-function radar APAR. The ships are also equipped with two STN Atlas 9600-M ARPA navigation radars.