During the Second World War, corvettes were vessels of limited tonnage, 1000 tons for the very prolific Flower class of the Royal Navy, intended to escort convoys against submarine threats and secure the coasts. Over the years, corvettes faded in a majority of modern large navies, replaced by heavier and more versatile frigates or less expensive missile patrol boats, while the threat to the coasts faded and that anti-submarine warfare needs were more handled by the submarines themselves, and maritime patrol aircraft. However, in recent years, many navies, including the largest, have returned to corvettes, and offers for this type of vessel have multiplied. In this article, we will present the operational capabilities and performance of 8 modern corvette models: the German K130 Braunschweig, the Chinese Type 056A, the French Gowind 2500, the Israeli Sa'ar 72, the American LCS, the Russian Gremyashchiy, the Swedish Visby and Turkish Ada.
Germany: Class K130 Braunschweig
Intended to replace the Guépard missile patrol boats, the Braunschweig were also to have capabilities allowing their deployment on the high seas. The first 5 ships of the class entered service between 2008 and 2013, while a second order of 5 ships was served in 2019, the first ship to be delivered in 2023. At 90 meters long and weighing 1850 tonnes, the K130s are larger than many of the ships presented here. The armament of the K130, limited as often on German ships, consists of an imposing 76mm gun, two 27mm BK-27 light guns, 4 RBS-15 anti-ship missiles with a range of 75 km, as well as 2 SeaRAM close air self-protection systems each with 21 missiles. A Laser anti-drone system is under development by MBDA and Rheinmetall for these corvettes.
Although equipped with a platform that can accommodate a medium helicopter, the Braunschweig aviation hangar can only accommodate light Skeldar drones. The corvette has a TRS-3D radar designed by Cassidian, but it lacks sonar, like a weapon system intended for anti-submarine warfare, unlike the majority of the ships presented here. Germany will eventually have 10 corvettes of this type, which also serves as a base for the Israeli Sa'ar 6 class.
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