Norway’s defense procurement agency FMA has awarded Kongsberg a contract to deliver upgraded combat systems for the Royal Norwegian Navy’s Skjold-class corvettes.
Awarded on June 24, the contract is worth 267 million Norwegian krone (approx. $27M) and is part of the corvettes’ mid-life upgrade.
Norway is kicking off the mid-life upgrade project for the 20-year-old ships after deciding in the spring of 2020 to upgrade and extend the life of a sufficient number of vessels in the class so that they could continue in service until 2030.
A total of six of the stealthy missile corvettes were commissioned between 1999 and 2012. Their glass fiber/carbon composite material build, stealth features and speed also sparked interest with the US Navy, which leased one of the vessels for a year of trials in the early 2000s.
While they displace a little under 250 tons, the vessels pack a punch with eight launchers for Naval Strike Missiles, 76mm Otobreda Super Rapid guns and Sea Protector remote weapon stations with Browning M2HB machine guns and the now-retired Mistral surface-to-air missile systems.
“Today’s combat management system in the Skjold-class has served the vessels well for over ten years, but the systems are now ripe for an update. This is important to ensure that the corvettes can continue to be a relevant capacity for the Navy, and to maintain a presence and sovereignty claim in Norwegian coastal waters,” Stein Håvard Bergstad, commanding officer naval systems at FMA, said.
Kongsberg said the combat system will be upgraded with a similar one that is in operation on the Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates today.
“When the Skjold class corvettes are to be upgraded with life extension technology, it is crucial to change the combat system on board to ensure combat
capability during their lifetime. We will also do an update of tactical data links and other functions in the combat system,” Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace division director Kjetil Reiten Myhra said.
Another contract that will form part of the corvette upgrade will be signed with the UMOE Mandal shipyard, which originally built the Skjold-class. This deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the summer and will see UMOE upgrade the vessels and various ship technical systems on board.