The De Zeven Provincien-class frigate consisted of four vessels: De Zeven Provincien F802, Tromp F803, De Ruyter F804, and Evertsen F805.
Netherlands, a country with most of the border on the sea, and approximately 90 percent of all commercial traffic involves sea transport. Traditionally, the Royal Netherlands Navy sailed throughout the world to protect the interests of the country. In the current world security situation, the demand for naval assets to deploy in crisis management activities is even greater than ever. Over the past twenty years, Dutch naval units have repeatedly proven their worth in peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
The Netherlands is also a country with the best experience and ability to build warships in Europe. One of the most affordable and capable warships is the De Zeven Provincien-class frigate. This class consisted of four vessels: De Zeven Provincien F802, Tromp F803, De Ruyter F804, and Evertsen F805. The first ship was laid down in 1998 and commissioned in 2002, the last ship commissioned in 2005. They will serve as Command & Air Defence Frigates in the Royal Dutch Navy.
The De Zeven Provincien-class frigates is a joint venture between three countries: Germany, Spain and the Netherlands. This has led to the development branches of each country: the Germans have the Sachsen class, the Spanish have the Alvaro de Bazan class, and the Dutch are De Zeven Provincien class. The De Zeven Provincien class was built to replace the former Tromp-class and Kortenaer-class frigates of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
According to the Dutch classification, this class is frigates, but in fact, with a displacement of more than 6,000 tons, they are real destroyers. Compared to its predecessors, these ships were a major improvement, playing an important role in the structure of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
The ships have a length of 144.24m (473.2 ft), beam of 18.8m (61.7 ft) and draft of 5.18m (17.0 ft). It is estimated that each ship costs about 600 million Euro, equivalent to 816 million dollars.
The De Zeven Provincien class design emphasizes stealth technology, significantly reducing the radar, thermal, acoustic, electrical and magnetic signatures, helping to hide itself from enemy radars. The ships were built with modular structures, combined with watertight compartments, which allow for easy maintenance and flexible when adding new weapons and sensors in the future. Blast and fragmentation retaining structures provide a very high level of survivability against missile attack and fire hazards.
For nuclear chemical and biological warfare protection the ship is subdivided into two gas citadels and a sub citadel. The exterior design of the De Zeven Provincien class is quite similar to the general trend of modern warships. The large slightly angled slab sides give the ships a modern and clean look. The outer structure is enclosed, plus low profile sections increase the stealth of vessels. The crew is also protected by a complete Nuclear-Biological-Chemical suite
The De Zeven Provincien class’s propulsion system is a combined diesel and gas, driving two propeller shafts, 5-bladed controllable pitch propellers. Two 6,800 horsepower Wartsila 16 V26 marine diesel engines combined with two 26,100 horsepower Rolls Royce Spey SM 1C gas turbines. The installed power consists of four Wartsila-Deutz D620 V12 diesel-generators, producing 2,250 horsepower each. The ships can reach a maximum speed of 30 knots (35 mph), a range of up to 4,000 nmi (7,400 km) at a fuel economy speed of 18 knots.
In order to operate, the frigates needed a crew of 204 sailors and can accommodate an additional 13 aircrews as part of a squadron commander’s staff. They can operate continuously for 21 days at sea without supply ships. Like other new-generation frigates, the De Zeven Provincien class also has a flight deck and a hangar to accommodate 1 medium sized helicopter such as NH90 helicopters.
Armament & Sensor
The Royal Netherlands Navy’s military doctrine focused on anti-aircraft warfare, the De Zeven Provincien class frigates optimized for this role. The heart of the combat system is the SEWACO XI combat data system, developed by Thales Naval Nederland. The main sensors for this system are the SMART-L long-range surveillance radar and the APAR multi-function radar.
The SMART-L is a D band radar, located above the hangar, providing very long range surveillance. It has a range of up to 400 km, and can track up to 1,000 targets.
APAR is an I band radar, fitted round the mast, providing precise target tracking. This is a high-powered Active Phased Array Radar, which is smaller, yet considerably more powerful, than the American SPY-1 phased array radar. It can guidance of 32 semi-active radar homing missiles in flight simultaneously, including 16 in the terminal guidance phase. There is also a Sirius long-range dual band infra red seeker, located above APAR, which has a maximum range of roughly 30 km.
Mounted on the hull is an Atlas Electronik active sonar. The Netherlands is planning to upgrade SMART-L to the new Mk2 standard, which can detect ballistic missiles at a range of 2,000 km (1,200 miles). APAR radar will also be upgraded to have a greater range than 400 km (250 miles).
The primary antiaircraft weapons are the point defence Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and the area defence RIM-66 Standard Missile Block IIIA. The Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is used to house and launch these missiles. 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and 32 Standard Missile SM-2 Block IIIA are carried.
Although these ships are optimized for air defense, they also have onboard weapons capable of attacking surface and submarine targets. They are equipped with eight RGM-84F Harpoon anti-ship missiles, two twin MK32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers with Raytheon MK46 Mod 5 torpedoes.
The ship’s main gun is a 127mm Oto Melara gun mounted on the bow deck. To deal with close-range threats, two Goalkeeper close-in weapon system are installed, one on the raised deck in front of the main mast and one facing the stern on the raised deck overlooking the helicopter landing deck. These weapons have a maximum rate of fire of up to 4,200 rounds per minute, a range of 1,500 meters. There are also 2 to 4 Browning M2 12.7mm machine guns and 4 to 6 FN MAG 7.62mm machine guns.
The Royal Netherlands Navy has a long tradition of naval capabilities. Although it is much smaller than before, but it is still very potent. Since being commissioned, the De Zeven Provincien class has been actively involved in the activities of the Royal Netherlands Navy, such as drills with allies and participating in counter-piracy operations off the Horn of Africa.
In the near future, the De Zeven Provincien class will remain the backbone of the Dutch navy. In the event of regional tensions, De Zeven Provincien-class frigates can help defend the Baltic states or be used to escort convoys across the Atlantic.
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