The ASW frigates replace the current 4 multipurpose frigates (M frigates) of both countries. The Dutch and Belgian ships have now reached the end of their service life, although they are still deployable. The first frigate is for the Royal Netherlands Navy and should be ready for use in 2029. The second ship goes to Belgium a year later. The two remaining frigates will follow in 2031 for the Netherlands and Belgium respectively.
“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.”Netherlands State Secretary Christophe van der Maat
Detection and combat of submarines
The ships can be used for multiple tasks. But the emphasis is on remote submarine detection and combat. This is done, among other things, with the NH90 on-board helicopter. Both the frigate and the helicopter can launch a torpedo to disable or drive off a submarine. It concerns the Mk54 torpedo, which will be available in a few years. The frigates will have hybrid diesel-electric propulsion and will be designed to sail as quietly as possible. They are therefore difficult to detect by submarines.
“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, 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.”Gerben Edelijn, CEO of Thales Netherlands.
Armaments and sensors
The ships will also be equipped with the most modern armament and sensors. Like the Under Water Warfare Suite. This gives the crew timely insight into the submarine threat. With the Above Water Warfare System, targets above water can be detected and eliminated. Furthermore, the Naval Strike Missile for surface targets and the ESSM Block 2 for air defense will be on board.
“With these projects we retain vital knowledge in our own country and thus our place in the world top of complex naval construction. Even more important: the crews of the Dutch and Belgian navies get top ships to carry out their complex tasks.”CEO of the Damen Shipyards Group Arnout Damen
Dozens of companies
Defense purchases the systems from dozens of companies. Signing of a number of contracts is planned around the summer. The remaining contracts for these sub-projects will follow this year, in 2024 and 2025 .
The construction of the 2 ASW frigates involves an investment of approximately € 1.9 billion.