Naval Craft, Weapon and Sensor Systems

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Information & Security: An International Journal, Volume 13, p.51-76 (2004)


The article provides an inside view on trends in technology of current and future naval construction programmes as seen by Lürssen, the German shipyard for naval vessels located in Bremen, Germany. The changing operational requirements recognised in many western European and overseas navies focus on a surface combatant such as a corvette-sized ship with advanced capabilities to meet the specific demands for littoral warfare operations. Based on these new requirements the article outlines technologies in current and future designs for Corvette- and Frigate-sized ships. It includes different types of platforms together with their specific benefits and capabilities for the intended employment in littoral warfare. In addition, measures to reduce the ship’s signatures for enhanced survivability are broadly discussed. With respect to adequate sea-keeping, manoeuvrability, speed and endurance (properties) in the littoral environment, the article also expands on the development and characteristics of new propulsion systems emphasising the overall need for a high degree of automation in all system components. The discussion on modern combat system technology once again underlines the need for a modular and flexible system design with open system architecture. The highest possible level of system automation reducing the number of personnel in the CIC and ensuring immediate reaction in a threat scenario is a further topic. Full integration of all sensors and weapons coupled with proven operational software is the essential technical requirement in this context. Finally, the article comments on some economical aspects of current building philosophies touching thereby on possibilities for crew reduction, costs reduction, potential capabilities for midlife refit, and growth potential.