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July 5, 2008
Frigate keel on station:
Keel laid for largest Naval Ships in Danish History
Monday, June 2, the Danish Chief of Defence gave the speech at the occasion for laving the keel of the first of the three new frigates for the Royal Danish navy.
The first module is placed in the dock marking
the official keel laying for the first new frigate.
By Johnny Balsved
Monday, June 2, the Danish Chief of Defence, general Jesper Helsø, performed one of his last official acts in his tenure of office when giving the speech at the occasion for laying the keel of the first of the three new frigates for the Royal Danish Navy (RDN).
For the next 4 years Dok 1 at Odense Steel Shipyard Ltd. (OSS) will be occupied for the building of the largest naval vessels in Danish history (Apart from the ABSALON Class a few years ago in the same shipyard).
According to plan all the 3 new ships will at some time be in build simultaneously in the dock.
The dry dock (Dok 1) at OSS is 300 meters long and 44.5 meters wide, so the first module seemed a bit on the small side when it was placed in the dock for the occasion.
Building ships in a civilian yard is today more of a logistics exercise where the dry-dock will be the assembly point of “building blocks” arriving from 2 different shipyards, – Loksa Shipyard in Estonia and Baltija Shipyard in Lithuania, after a journey through the Baltic Sea – both shipyards are owned by OSS.
The building blocks will be transported on OSS own barges. This is a long tried and tested building method for the normal civilian production the OSS – lately the worlds largest containerships of 400 meters and with a speed of 25 knots.
In contrast to other RDN new ship buildings over the last decades, including the ABSALON Class, installation of the military systems will be performed by the naval personnel in parallel with the building of the ship. A small container village has been erected alongside the dock to accommodate the navy's technicians.
Navalhistory.dk has learned the the module for the forward mast will be delivered to Thales in the Nederland, who will fit the powerful APAR radar in the module in their own workshop, mast will then return complete for fitting onboard.
A sketch of the new frigates as they will appear after completion.
Largest combat units
The allegation that these ships are the largest naval vessels in Danish history is most likely because these 3 units are more traditional combat units than the 2 preceding command and support ships of the ABSALON Class.
The two classes will share the same hull drawings and a host of other things. At a distance the largest difference between the command support ships and the frigates will be the different radar fit. The frigates carrying the large Thales Smart-L air warning radar aft and the characteristic APAR illumination and fire control radar on the forward mast.
With a length of close to 140 meters and beam of 20 meters the frigates have four and a half times the displacement of the three corvettes of the NIELS JUEL Class they are to replace, and more than two and a half times the displacement of the frigates of the PEDER SKRAM Class (1966-1990).
There seems to have been one earlier ship with a sizeable tonnage and that was the armored ship IVER HVITFELDT (1887-1919) which in spite of a modest length of 74 meters had beam and draught enough to displace 3,446 tons. In those days such a ship had a complement of 300.
The new frigates will fully kitted out have more firepower than any previous navy ship, and since the search radar will have a detection of 400 kilometers, they will be able to defend nearly all Danish airspace.
"The frigates will be the largest units with the greatest firepower in the navy’s very soon 500 years history", says program manager commander senior grade Anders Friis.
He further explains that the frigates will be fitted with the Lockheed Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS), enabling the ship to embark various missiles according to the needs. At the same time the ships will be equipped with Area Defence System enabling the ships to defend a larger area against aircraft and missiles.
The Harpoon missiles from previous ships will also be fitted – these are in the updated Block 2 configuration and therefore not only anti ship but also land attack. The Evolved Sea Sparrow will cater for the close air defence as will 2 76mm OTO Melara Super Rapid in the A and B gun positions.
There will further be a CIWS on top of the helicopter hangar – the 35mm Millennium gun. The frigates will be prepared for installation of the same 127mm gun as fitted to the ABSALON Class.
Translated by Lars-Henrik Arvedsen
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This page was first published: July 5, 2008 (November 10, 2008)