Well here we go..!
This design was shown a few weeks ago during TechBase, a Dutch military show and festival. It shows a ship, according to it's designers, of 145m in length and a crew of around 120. The frigate will be armed for a variety of tasks including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare. It will also have more enhanced anti-submarine capabilities than any other current frigate in the Royal Netherlands Navy. It might even be possible that the ship can be fitted with mine warfare modules, although this will need some modifications to the design concerning magnetic fields.
Visible are a 76mm Oto Melara gun, as the RNLN has been using since the early 1980's. The design show no effort in making the weapon more stealthy. Also visible is a 16cell VLS system. This means the ship could carry up to 64 RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, or a combination of missiles instead. Furthermore space is reserved for eight anti-ship missiles on top of the ASV-hangar in the rear superstructure. It looks like this design took over some of the weapons on board the Holland class OPV's and Karel Doorman JSS. On both the front and rear side of the superstructure two Marlin 30mm's and two Hitrole 12.7mm's are installed. On the hangar the familiar Goalkeeper is seen as well.
It also looks like the navy has finally understood the future of littoral surface warfare. In the very middle of the ship there is room for (as it looks) up to 3-4 Autonomous Surface Vessels. These vessels can be upgraded with several weapon systems and can be used for inspection or anti-piracy missions. One thing that some might notice from the pictures is that the rear superstructure shows a large hangar door that leads to the ASV's. I don't know why this is really..
At the rear of the FSC a large helicopter deck capable of supporting quite large helicopters. Beneath the helicopter deck there is a slipway for Fast Raiding Interception and Special Forces Crafts, or FRISC's for short. One thing that is remarkable is that the FSC is not equipped with a standard I-mast from Thales, but a more evolved integrated sensorsuite.
OK, not that was the first look on the design, this is what I think of it:
Not half bad, I like the overall look of the ship and it shows real growth potential for the future. However, I would like to see more stealth characteristics. It is not mentioned in the official statement by the DMO, but the ships will have to be able to operate far out at sea for considerable time. I am looking here at a range of at least 4000NM and an endurance of up to a year away from home ports. Probably a hybrid propulsion is a must have for this ship.
Weapons and sensors
Well, the weapons shown on the model are utterly ridiculous of course. This is probably because the model was 3D printed and they didn't have any schematics of other weapon systems. In my opinion the ship has to be equipped with a large variety of lethal, not-lethal and less-lethal weapons. Also the ship must be able to support ground operations, for example with a 127mm gun with Vulcano ammunition.
- 1x 127mm Oto Melara LW with Vulcano ammunition (range <80km)
- 1x 30mm Goalkeeper CIWS
- 2x 30mm Marlin WS
- 2x 12.7mm Hitrole WS
-16-32cell VLS with a variety of missiles (ESSM, cruise missiles and maybe anti-submarine missiles).
- 8x Anti-Ship missiles, probably RBS-15's or Naval Strike Missiles by the time the ship enters service
- Maybe a RAM?
About the sensors, an I-mast that is more incorporated in the overall design looks good to me, so no comments there.
Well gents, fire away