Future Dutch, Belgian Anti-Submarine Frigates to Receive Thales Fire Control, Sensors

Thales has received a contract to supply naval fire control systems and sensor technologies for the Netherlands and Belgium’s future Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates.

Under the agreement, the company will supply Above Water Warfare Systems (AWWS), sensor suites, and associated logistic support packages for four vessels.

The frigates will receive Mirador Mk2 electro-optical fire control sensors, Gatekeeper Mk2 electro-optical observation sensors, and Scout Mk3 low-detectability surveillance radars.

Work  will be facilitated at Thales’ Center of Excellence in Hengelo, the Netherlands.

Modernized Capabilities

The AWWS fire control cluster provides continuous analysis and optimization of the tactical environment and resources during naval combat.

Through this solution, crews can “counter and neutralize” high-speed and advanced attacks from adversaries at sea.

Meanwhile, the sensor suite combines Thales’ APAR Block 2 X-band and SM400 Block 2 S-band radars for dynamic situational awareness.

“Thales’ AWWS fits in perfectly with our priority: guaranteeing the availability of material and the safety of our personnel,” Dutch Command Materiel and IT Commander Admr. Arie Jan de Waard stated.

“The threats that this new generation of frigates may be confronted with require the support of a defence system with AI capabilities.”

New Frigates for Netherlands and Belgium

The agreement supports a $4.4-billion bilateral program seeking two new multirole ASW frigates each for the Dutch and Belgian Navies to replace their aging Karel Doorman and M-class frigates.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Aug. 25, 2019) The Belgian navy Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930) transits the Atlantic Ocean. Leopold I is underway on a regularly-scheduled deployment as part of Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 to conduct maritime operations and provide a continuous maritime capability for NATO in the northern Atlantic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner)
Belgian Navy’s Karel Doorman-class frigate Leopold I (F930). Photo: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cameron Stoner/US Navy

This month, Damen Naval received the contract to construct the fleet. The initiative was first unveiled in 2018.

Each vessel will have an 18-meter (59 feet) beam and a total length of 145 meters (476 feet). It can also carry up to 117 personnel.

The fleet will be armed with MK54 torpedoes, naval strike missiles, rolling airframe missiles, and 76-millimeter guns.

Supporting Europe, NATO

Deliveries of the frigates to the Royal Netherlands Navy will commence in 2029, while the remaining ships will be shipped to the Belgian Navy in 2030.

“The acquisition of the ASW frigates is taking place in the way I prefer: through intensive cooperation, between countries, armed forces, and industry,” Dutch State Secretary Christophe van der Maat said.

“In time, the result will be an innovative and powerful weapon system. This will benefit us as direct users, but also Europe and NATO.”

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