Meko200 History
Blohm & Voss MEKO 200 Class frigates represent one of the most successful and effective designs with 29 vessels in service with 6 different nations worldwide. Development started at the end of 1970s for a new low cost, highly capable frigate for the international market under a basic design that could be equipped with a wide range of various electronic, propulsion and weapon systems according to each client's needs. This concept presented greater flexibility in terms of production rates and technology "know how" transition to clients that wish to develop their own national shipyards. Many clients, especially small navies, choose to exploit the existence of pre-positioned modules for electronic and weapons systems and choose not to fully equip their vessels due to economic shortages, since this can be done at a later date. Export clients include Greece (MEKO 200HN), Turkey (MEKO 200TN), Australia/New Zealand (8x / 2x MEKO 200ANZ), Portugal (3x MEKO 200PN) and Germany (F-123 Brandenburg).

Meko 200 PN Vasco da Gama Class
In 1985, after long and intensive studies, the Portuguese Government gave the green light for the construction of three frigates of the Meko 200 type of the Vasco da Gama Class, giving the Portuguese Navy the responsibility for the management of the contract and its respective contractors. These frigates are modern ships, endowed with armaments and highly sophisticated radars, using point military technology. For the first time in its history, the Portuguese Navy possesses naval units able to face a multitude of threats on the sea. Also, for the first time, a Portuguese naval unit is equipped with systems capable of launching of surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missiles. The three frigates are NRP Vasco Da Gama F330, NRP Alvares Cabral F331, and NRP Corte Real F332


NRP Vasco Da Gama
DaGama02ab.JPG (74974 bytes) DaGama05ab.JPG (57633 bytes) DaGama06ab.JPG (61814 bytes) DaGama08ab.JPG (79533 bytes)
DaGama03ab.JPG (79040 bytes) DaGama04ab.JPG (70888 bytes) DaGama07ab.JPG (85765 bytes) DaGama01ab.JPG (75415 bytes)

Meko 200 HN - Ydra Class
The first Meko 200 class frigate was built in Germany and entered service in 1992. The remaining three ships were built in Hellas. The Hellenic Navy ordered four MEKO 200HN Hydra Class frigates with the first, F-452 Hydra built in Germany by the Blohm & Voss Shipyards and the rest by the Hellenic Shipyards. Delivery of the first frigate was made on January 29th 1993, the second,F-453 Spetsai on the 24th October 1996; followed by the third, F-454 Psara; and the fourth, F-455 Salamis vessel of the class in 1999. Emphasis was given to better ASW capabilities with a DE1160 Variable Depth sonar (VDS) and support for one S-70B6 Aegean Hawk ASW helicopter, which is the Greek version of Seahawk using the AGM-119Mk2 Penguin Anti-ship missiles.


HN Hydra
Hydra01ab.JPG (74283 bytes) Hydra03ab.JPG (64636 bytes) Hydra04ab.JPG (70664 bytes)
Hydra05ab.JPG (73007 bytes) Hydra06ab.JPG (72766 bytes) Hydra07ab.JPG (68554 bytes)

The Models
Both 1:700 water line hulls where scratch-built by Geoff Baker with laminated plastic card sheets, and I built all the structures. I decided to build the Portuguese and the Greek versions.
Only minor changes are required: aft structure near the funnels is slightly different as well as the hanger shape. The Greek version also has a VDS on the stern, below the flight deck level. The armament is also different from one version to another. I think Australian version looks very close to the Greek version, however with very small differences. PitRoad/Skywave sprues with armament, radars, ladders, and other sensors where used to complete both models, but some parts, like the gun directors, were scratch-built. I also used White Ensign Model sets with doors, bollards, capstans and Lynx Helicopter. The decals came from multiple spare sheets, but the Portuguese markings for the Lynx helicopter came from a Mike Grant 1:700 decal sheet. The Greek markings on the SH-60 came from the 1:700 PitRoad/Skywave S-7 "The West Wings" set.
 
As far as I know, these models are the only scratch-built Meko200 ships ever published worldwide.

Ayala Botto
Libon, Portugal
c.ayalabotto@netcabo.pt

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