x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

UAE Navy officers get aboard with the best of Germany

The FGS Hamburg is from Germany¿s most advanced naval ship class and was commissioned in 2004.

Members of the German navy stand guard as the frigate FGS Hamburg is docked at Port Rashid in Dubai. The Hamburg’s mission in the Arabian Gulf is to protect the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower. Christopher Pike / The National
Members of the German navy stand guard as the frigate FGS Hamburg is docked at Port Rashid in Dubai. The Hamburg’s mission in the Arabian Gulf is to protect the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower. Christopher Pike / The National

DUBAI // Navy officers were yesterday welcomed aboard the most technologically advanced vessel in the region.

The German frigate FGS Hamburg,commissioned in 2004, has been taking part in joint anti-mine exercises in the Arabian Gulf.

"It is built to be deployed as a warfighter, with a command platform for air defence," said Lieutenant Commander Alexander Timpf, the ship's press officer.

Rear Admiral Naval Staff Ibrahim Al Musharrakh, who welcomed the ship to Port Rashid, said the Navy was always seeking better cooperation with its allies.

"The UAE Navy is in touch always with operators in the region and cooperates with the central command in Bahrain," he said.

"We always take the opportunity to meet with our counterparts on visiting ships and sometimes conduct combined exercises, if the visiting ships wish to do so, to enhance our cooperation."

Commander Ralf Kuchler, Hamburg's commanding officer, said the ship had advanced capabilities to conduct air defence, air traffic control, surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare.

"I am not very sure if there is a more sophisticated system in the Gulf that is operational," he said. "This is certainly the most advanced ship in the German navy."

The Hamburg's mission in the Arabian Gulf is to protect the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower, the main strategic deployment of the US navy in the Arabian Gulf. It is the only non-American warship in Carrier Strike Group Eight.

"It is fully interoperable with the Ike and allows us to execute multi-mission capabilities," said Rear Admiral Mike Manazir, commander of the group.

The strike group, which has a further seven vessels, uses the Hamburg and an American frigate as the "shotgun" in an operational theatre, Admiral Manazir said.

"The strike group provides us with a capability to establish security and stability in the region as well as exercises which develop interoperability with our allies.

"Our primary mission here is Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and we have been participating in the mine counter-meaures exercises, where we reached high interoperability with the UAE Navy."

The Hamburg has previously been deployed in the Horn of Africa as part of the European Union Naval Force's Operation Atalanta.

"We were deployed there from November 2010 until March 2011 to provide protection for the UN World Food Programme ships coming in to Somalia," said Com Kuchler.

The Hamburg and the Dwight D Eisenhower, are docked in Jebel Ali and will leave on Thursday.

amustafa@thenational.ae