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Dutch trim back missile radar upgrade for air warfare frigates

3rd May 2022 - 11:44 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The four RNLN De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates are all currently armed with ESSM Block 1. (Photo: Dutch MoD)

Only half of the four De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command frigates in the Royal Netherlands Navy will receive an important radar upgrade by 2028.

Only two of the four De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command frigates in service with the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) will be fitted with a new Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) for RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 missiles from 2028, the Dutch MoD has admitted.

The original plan in 2018 was to equip all the frigates in this class with ESSM Block 2, but State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat told the Dutch parliament on 29 April that the APAR is currently in development and is not expected to enter service until 2027.

The Dutch MoD found that it would be ‘considerably more expensive’ for Thales Nederland to install the radar on all four frigates than it was calculated in 2018. The vessels are all currently armed with ESSM Block 1.

By purchasing two APARs instead of four, fewer ESSM Block 2 missiles are required, so total revised costs for the Dutch MoD will be between €250 million and €1 billion.

Each of the upgraded De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates will be replaced from 2034.

The new version of the APAR is in development to enter service in 2027, initially for a pair of new RNLN anti-submarine warfare frigates (being jointly procured with Belgium) that will replace the Karel Doorman-class (M-class) frigates.

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