Since the contract award for the modernization of the German Navy’s F123 Brandenburg Class Frigates in 2021, there has been a general assumption that the aging RGM-84 Harpoon Anti-ship missile (AShM) will be replaced by the Kongsberg Naval Strike Missile (NSM). The NSM has been selected for several other ship classes within the German Navy, namely the F124, F125, and F126 class frigates.

Graphic of a modernized F123B class Frigate (SAAB)

Recent developments seem to suggest that the procurement plans for the class retrofit, now dubbed F123B, have materialized. Navy sources and a recent contract award for a study to integrate the Saab/Diehl-produced RBS-15 Mk3 AShM into the ship’s combat management system (CMS) now hint at the new solution of choice.

This appears to be a consequence of the selection of the Saab 9LV CMS and aligns with the effort to get the new ships into service by 2026. Other measures include the retrofit of a Towed Array Sonar (TAS), a change in radar systems to the Sea Giraffe series 1X and 4A models and an upgrade to the ship’s air defenses with the introduction of the RAM and ESSM Block 2 variants respectively.