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Lütjens-class destroyer
D185 Lütjens.jpg
Class overview
Name: Type 103 Lütjens
(Modified Charles F. Adams-class destroyer)
Builders: Bath Iron Works
Operators:  German Navy
Succeeded by: Sachsen-class frigate
Completed: 3
Retired: 3
Preserved: 1
General characteristics
Class & type: Missile Destroyer
Displacement: 4720 t
Length: 133.2 m
Beam: 14.3 m
Draft: 6.1 m
Propulsion: 2 × steam turbines providing 70,000 shp (52 MW); 2 shafts
4 x 1,275 psi (8,790 kPa) boilers
Speed: 33 knots (61 km/h)
Range: 4,500 nautical miles (8,300 km) at 20 knots (37 km/h)
Complement: 337
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • AN/SPS-40 2D air surveillance and early-warning radar, long-range
  • AN/SPS-67 sea surveillance radar, med-range
  • AN/SPS-52 3D air surveillance radar, long-range
  • 2 x AN/SPG-51C Mk 74 fire-control radar
  • AN/SPQ-9 short range fire-control radar for surface and low flying targets
  • SPG-60 tracking and fire control radar (also radar illumination for the missiles)
  • Raytheon RP 1225 navigation radar
  • Atlas Elektronik DSQS-21B active/passive sonar
  • EADS FL1800 ESM suite
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • 2 x SRBOC 6 cell chaff and flare launcher
  • 1 x SLQ-25 Nixie torpedo decoy
  • 1 x EADS FL1800 ESM/ECM suite
  • Armament:
  • 2 x 127 mm/54 Mk 42 mod 10 guns
  • 2 x Rheinmetall Rh202 20 mm autocannons
  • 1 x Modified Mark 13 launcher
    • SM-1MR surface to air missile (usually 32)
    • Harpoon anti-ship missile (usually 8)
  • 2 x Mk 49 launcher, 21 RAM surface to air missiles each
  • 6 x 324 mm torpedo tubes, DM4A1 and Mark 46 torpedoes
  • 1 x ASROC launcher, 8 cell
  • The Type 103 Lütjens class was the last class of destroyers in service with the German Navy. They were replaced by the new Sachsen-class frigates, designated frigate even though they are much larger and more capable in all aspects than the Lütjens-class destroyers. Basically the ships were Charles F. Adams-class guided missile destroyers but with some modifications to meet German requirements:

    • Communication systems according to German standards. The Lütjens class had more aerials and a second mast mounted on the aft funnel, the large air surveillance radar was positioned further aft (above the funnel).
    • Different funnel design. This was necessary because of the new antennas and radar location. On the Lütjens the exhaust gases were emitted sideways with two pipes on the port and starboard side of each funnel.
    • New location of the sonar array: The Lütjens had its sonar dome located in a bulge directed forward in the bow and not under the bow to reduce the ship's draft.
    • Better crew accommodations.

    The Lütjens class was upgraded to Type 103A in the 1970s with new digital fire-control computers and better missiles for the old Tartar SM1 missile system. The boilers were also converted to burn lighter oil for logistical reasons instead of the heavy fuel oil that needs to be preheated.

    A second major refit began in the 1980s, with new fire control computers and radar for the guns.

    In the 1990s, the ships in the class each received two RAM launchers and Chaff launchers.

    With the decommissioning of Lütjens (D185) on December 18, 2003 the age of steam ended for the German Navy. Mölders (D186) became a Museum Ship at the German Navy Museum in Wilhelmshaven.

    Note: Speeds over 30 kn could only sustained for a limited time due to the enormous fuel consumption. With two active boilers the ship could achieve speeds up to 27 kn. Three boilers made 30 kn achievable. For any speed beyond 30 kn all four boilers were needed.

    List of ships

    Name Call
    Commissioned Decom-
    D185 Lütjens DRAE March 22, 1969 December 18, 2003 2012 scrapped in Aliaga, Turkey
    D186 Mölders DRAF September 20, 1969 May 28, 2003 Museum ship in Wilhelmshaven
    D187 Rommel DRAG May 20, 1970 September 30, 1998 cannibalized, 2004 scrapped in Turkey

    All three ships were built by Bath Iron Works in the USA. They were named after famous German officers who died in World War II. In service, they formed the 1. Zerstörergeschwader (first destroyer squadron) and were based in Kiel.


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