According to Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf, quoting Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources, the negotiations between the two navies are facing delays because of differences regarding “specifications, price and schedule”.
According to the timetable previously announced by Dutch Defence Minister, Ank Bijleveld, the first dutch Frigate should have been in the water by 2024. However, the date has now been pushed back to 2025 at the earliest. The replacement of the M frigates was originally scheduled to enter service this year. The initial delay was due to budget reasons.
The new delay may mean that the current M frigates will have to remain in service five years longer than initially planned.
About M-Frigate replacement
The Future Surface Combatant is a project of the Royal Netherlands Navy and Belgian Navy to replace the ageing Multipurpose- or M-frigates (Karel Doorman-class). The future frigates will be replacing HNLMS Van Amstel and HNLMS Van Speijk in the Dutch Navy and Leopold I and the Louise-Marie in the Belgian Navy.
The Dutch MoD started design studies for the M-frigates replacement in 2013. The new frigates are set to fulfill a general purpose role with ASW as its specialty. However, given the limited number of frigates in the Royal Netherlands Navy (six) and Belgian (two) fleets, the Future Surface Combatant are required to excel in all area (air defense, anti surface warfare…). While the Belgian Navy is in charge of the MCM replacement program for both navies, likewise the Dutch Navy is in charge of the M-Frigates replacement program for both the Netherlands and Belgium.
AWWS by Thales
The future frigate will be fitted with the new Above Water Warfare System (AWWS) suite by Thales. will consist of a new generation of sensors, coupled with intelligent software that continuously calculates which actions are best suited to tackle each threat detected by radar and other sensors in the right manner. This maximizes the chance of survival, while the crew stays in control.
This system uses the latest sensor technology from Thales to detect and monitor all above-water threats, including the next-generation, fully digital dual-band X/S radar suite: an integral combination of Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) and Sea Master 400 radar technologies.
M-Frigate Replacement Specifications
- Displacement: Approx. 6.000 tonnes
- Length: 146 meters
- Speed: +30
- Complement: 120