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February 8, 2018

PROCUREMENT BLUES: German Navy experiences “LCS syndrome” in spades as new frigate fails sea trials.

The Baden-Wurttemberg now bears the undesirable distinction of being the first ship the German Navy has ever refused to accept after delivery. In fact, the future of the whole class of German frigates is now in doubt because of the huge number of problems experienced with the first ship during sea trials. So the Baden-Wurttemberg won’t be shooting its guns at anything for the foreseeable future (and neither will the Zumwalt for the moment, since the US Navy cancelled orders for their $800,000-per-shot projectiles).

System integration issues are a major chunk of the Baden-Wurrenberg’s problems. About 90 percent of the ship’s systems are so new that they’ve never been deployed on a warship in fact—they’ve never been tested together as part of what the US Navy would call “a system of systems.” And all of that new hardware and software have not played well together—particularly with the ship’s command and control computer system, the Atlas Naval Combat System (ANCS).

Perhaps most inexcusable, the ship doesn’t even float right — it has a permanent list to starboard.