The contract for the design, construction, and delivery of four Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates, two for the Netherlands and two for Belgium, has been signed by the Dutch Ministry of Defence, Damen, and Thales.
Damen, responsible for ship construction, and Thales, tasked with building the integrated radar and fire control system, announced the contract signing on June 29.
New frigates will replace the existing four Karel Doorman-class multipurpose frigates of the Netherlands and Belgium, which have reached the end of their service life but are still deployable.
Both countries will make an investment of around €1.9 billion for the construction of the frigates.
The ASW frigates are designed for multiple tasks, with a focus on anti-submarine warfare. They will have hybrid diesel-electric propulsion and be equipped with a comprehensive suite of sensors to detect submarines, states Damen.
The ships will also feature modern armament and sensors, including the Under Water Warfare Suite (UWWS) and an Above Water Warfare System (AWWS), used for target detection and elimination.
Armament includes a 76mm gun, MK54 torpedoes, Rolling Airframe Missiles (RAM), and the Naval Strike Missile. The ASWs have the potential to accommodate other weapons such as more powerful missiles and High Energy Lasers.
The frigates will have a length of 145 meters and a beam of 18 meters. With a draught of 5.5 meters and a displacement of 6,400 tonnes, they will offer ample space for a crew of 117, with provisions for additional personnel.
Additionally, unmanned craft and aircraft will be available on board for operations on and under water, as well as in the air.
Netherlands State Secretary Van der Maat said, “The ASW frigates are acquired the way I prefer: Through intensive cooperation between countries, armed forces and industry. The long-term result is an innovative and powerful weapon system. As direct users, we benefit from this, but so do Europe and NATO.”
“We are delighted that Thales has again been selected to supply sensor and fire control systems for a new class of ship for the Royal Netherlands Navy,” said Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands. “The crew of the ASW frigates can rely on our state-of-the-art Above Water Warfare System to provide effective defense against current and future threats.”
The Royal Netherlands Navy will receive the first frigate by 2029, followed by Belgium a year later, and the two remaining frigates will be delivered in 2031 for each respective country.