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Comparisons  –  NATO Allies  –  Current Danish Naval Projects  –  July  2008

An Overview of  Current,  On-Going  Danish Naval projects  2005-2009
Projekt Patruljeskib  –  a Patrol Ship  or  Heavily-Armed Future Frigate


Update: the Danish Patruljeskib frigates have been named the Iver Huitfeld class after a hero of the Great Northern War with Sweden (1700 to 1721), Sjøoffiser Iver Huitfeld. Name spellings vary: the class is sometimes identified (even in official documents) as Ivar Huitfeld,  the man himself as Iver or Ivar Huitfeld, Iver or Ivar Huitfeldt, or even by his Norwegian birth name, Iffuer Tønnesen.
Following the two Absalon class Command and Support Ships are new patrol frigates. In Danish, this is referred to as Projekt Patruljeskib (or Project Patrol Ship).  Euphemisms for 'frigate'  have become the norm in Denmark – the frigate-sized Thetis class OPVs were dubbed  Inspektionsskib and Absalon class support ships will never be called  Transport Frigates in official use. However, it is hard to see the planned powerful, heavily-armed Patruljeskib as anything other than frigates.

The frigate is a direct evolution of the Absalon class. Based on the same hull,  the frigates will be much more powerful  –  Absalons have two 8,200 kW MTU diesels,  frigates will have four such engines.  Frigates  will  also have a lower profile  ( having dispensed with the Absalon's internal vehicle deck. Another difference is the plan to do  final  fit-outs  while in the shipyard.

The yard in question is Odense Lindø  (Odense Staalskibsværft ) which will complete three patrol frigates. Cutting of steel for frigate number 1 (F351) began in late February 2008 (five months later than originally planned) but not at Lindøværft.  The first 'blocks' for the frigate were welded up at Baltija Shipyard in Klaipeda, Lithuania. The first completed blocks were towed to Lindø at the end of  May 2008 in time for the first keel laying in June. Loksa in Estonia [1] is also producing blocks.

The new Patruljeskibe will be very similar in size and other respects to other current frigate programs such as the German  Type 124/125, Dutch De Zeven Provinciën class, Franco/Italian  FREMM, and  the Spanish F100. Where there is a difference is in price. The cost for all three frigates fitted with sensors and weapons (save Standard SM-2 air defence missiles) is given as 4.7 billion Kroner (Cdn $1B or about $333M per ship). The other European frigates mentioned range from $447M Cdn (for FREMM, French version) to $1.12B Cdn (for German Type 124 Sachsen class). [2]

Of  most interest to Canadians, of  course, is how prices for these European frigates compare with DND's planned Single Class Surface Combatant. The 12 SCSC future frigates were given a project price of  $20B plus. That would work out to an averaged per hull cost for SCSC frigates of  $1.7M.

Although fit-out of  the frigates will occur before leaving the yard, the use of Standard Flex containers allow for an interim armament arrangement. The planned  main gun armament is the 127mm M/02 LvSa (the BAE 5-in. Mk 45 Mod 4 as on Absalon, right). However, as an interim measure, that  forward  'A position' slot will be filled by a 76mm M/85 LvSa  –  the same OTO Melara Super Rapid gun used on Canadian  Tribal class destroyers. A second  76mm M/85 will be mounted in the 'B position' slot above and behind the first gun. This too is a temporary expedient and  will soon be replaced.

Ultimately, that 'B position' slot will be filled by a close-in weapon system  –  the same 35mm Rheinmetall Millenium revolver cannon CIWS as will  be mounted above the rear hangar (in a similar fore and aft arrangement as is used on the Albsalons). Other armament is 24  x  ESSM air defence missiles (optional Standard SM-2s), 16 x Harpoon surface to surface missiles, plus torpedos and short-range SAMs.

Even in its initial, interim armament form, the Danish patrol ship will be an impressive frigate. This has been achieved at a lower cost than any comparable vessel  by evolving the hull  from another in-service 'frigate'. The similarity of major systems between the patrol ship and the Absalons also means that crews can be interchanged without the need for further training. Those similarities will be increased when the patrol  frigate's ultimate armament is 'plugged in'.  In the meantime, further economies are made by taking full advantage of Standard Flex and using the available armaments.


    Danish  Projekt Patruljeskib  Frigate
  Displacement:   6,200 tonnes
  Dimensions:   length 138 m,  beam 20 m,  draught 6 m
  Complement:   100 crew  (accommodation for up to 160 )
  Propulsion:
 
  4  x  8,200 kW  (11,000 hp)  MTU 8000 M70
  diesel engines, 2 x props, 1 x bow thruster
  Range:   9,000 nautical miles  (16,666 km) at 15 kts
  Performance:   maximum speed  28 knots  (51.89 km/h)
  Armament:
  (final fit)
 
 
  1 x 127 mm main gun  (5"/62 / M/02 LvSa)
  2 x 35 mm CIWS (Millenium / M/04 LvSa)
  16 x  SSM, 24 x  ESSM, 1 x  Mk 41 VLS, 4 x
  Stinger SAM, 2 x torpedo launchers, mgs


[1] Odense Staalskibsværft is a part of AP Møller-Maersk A/S as are the Baltija and Loksa yards.

[2] Unit costs for naval vessels (especially when averaged) are notoriously unreliable – there are simply too many variables and accounting practices.  With that caveat in mind, the following are rough unit prices for the frigates mentioned  in the text  and  the  Single Class Surface Combatant.
   •  Danish   –  1.5B Kr  =  $333M Cdn  (Project Patruljeskibe)
   •  FREMM – 280M €  =  $447M Cdn  (French version, diesel powered)
   •  FREMM – 350M €  =  $600M Cdn  (Italian version, turbine powered)
   •  Dutch   –   400M €  =  $639M Cdn  (De Zeven Provinciën class)
     (or up to  – 450M €  =  $719M Cdn  quotes vary according to source)
   •  Spanish  – 400M €  =  $639M Cdn  (F100/Nansen class, prices vary)
   •  Typ 125  – 550M €  =  $878M Cdn  (projected German Fregatte Klasse F125)
   •  FREMM – 550M €  =  $879M Cdn  (projected air defence version)
   •  Typ 124  – 700M €  =  $1.12B Cdn  (German Sachsen class air defence frigate)
   •  CF SCSC – 1.06B €  =  $1.70B Cdn  (Single Class Surface Combatant)

Further reading: Danish Naval History  Patrol Ship, Patrol Ship photo album (digitial impressions)

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