Fridtjof Nansen is Norway’s most advanced anti-submarine warfare class frigate, with the most sophisticated and modern anti-submarine warfare system.
The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are the main surface combatant units of the Royal Norwegian Navy, the lead ship of this warship-class is Fridtjof Nansen F310. The ship is named after Fridtjof Nansen, the Norwegian scientist, explorer and humanitarian.
The ship and and sisters were originally intended as a replacement for the aging Oslo-class frigates, with a primary focus on anti-submarine warfare. Eventually, the need for a robust anti-aircraft defense as well as the possibility of incorporating the Naval Strike Missile surface-to-surface missile produced by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace led to a more multi-role design, that have anti-submarine, anti-ship, land attack and air defense capabilities. The selection of Navantia as prime contractor led to the design being very similar to the Spanish Navy’s Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates, including the incorporation of Lockheed Martin’s AEGIS combat system.
A number of design features were incorporated in order to reduce the radar cross section of these frigates, and thus increase their survivability. However the Fridtjof Nansen class ships are not true stealth vessels.
The ship has five decks and two superstructures, the welded steel has 13 watertight compartments for enhanced survivability. The total displacement of the frigate is 5290 tons, overall length of 134m, a beam of 16.8m and a draft of 7.6m.
Compared with Oslo-class frigates, the Fridtjof Nansen is larger, and have more personnel and equipment, she was designed with a helicopter landing deck at the stern with full service to meet the operation of one NH90 helicopters, with the role as an extended “arm” of the frigates’ anti submarine warfare and anti surface warfare capabilities.
The hull design is optimised for stability, sea-keeping and manoeuvrability and the hull appendages and propellers are designed for low hydrodynamic noise. This Norwegian warship has a Combined Diesel and Gas propulsion. It uses two Bazan Bravo 12V diesel engines developing 6000 shaft horsepower each, these are used for economical cruising. There is also a single General Electric LM2500 gas turbine, developing 25700 shaft horsepower, it is used for high speed cruise. The power is delivered to two shafts, giving the ship a maximum speed of 27 knots, range is 4500 nautical miles at 16 knots. The frigate is operated by a crew of 120 men and can additionally accommodate 26 passengers.
Fridtjof Nansen is the smallest variant of the Aegis family in the world. The heart of the Aegis system is the Lockheed Martin Naval Electronics AN/SPY-1F radar. It is a smaller and less capable version of the AN/SPY-1D radar, used on the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class frigates, American Arleigh Burke class destroyers, and some other warships. The multi-function phased array radar can detect air targets at a range of around 160 km and track hundreds of targets simultaneously. The system controls the detection and engagement of hostile air, surface and submarine threats. The ship also has a Sagem Vigy 20 Electro Optical Director that provides passive target tracking. She is also equipped with a Reutech RSR 210N air and sea surveillance radar.
Thales Underwater Systems is prime contractor for the sonar suite with Simrad as a subcontractor. The suite includes the advanced CAPTAS mk2 V1 Combined Active or Passive Towed Array Sonar and the Spherion MRS 2000 hull-mounted sonar providing anti-submarine detection at short, medium and long ranges.
Electronic warfare & decoys includes the Terma DL-12T decoy launcher, Loki torpedo countermeasure to deal with the enemy’s sonar jamming device.
The main armament of the frigate is one 76mm OTO Melara Super Rapid gun arranged at the bow, it can engage both surface and air targets, this gun has a rate of fire of 120 rounds a minute.
An eight-cell mk41 vertical launch system for the RIM-162 evolved Sea Sparrow missile has the capacity for 32 missiles, four per cell. It is designed to counter supersonic maneuvering anti-ship missiles, and have a range of 50km. This Norwegian warship does not carry any long-ranged surface-to-air missiles.
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Anti-ship and land attack capability is provided by eight Kongsberg Naval Strike Missles. These cruise missiles have a range of over 185 km and carry a 125 kg warhead.
The ship has two twin magazine torpedo launchers for BAE Systems Stingray lightweight torpedoes, that provide anti-submarine capability.
On February 26, 2009, the Norwegian government decided to deploy HNoMS Fridtjof Nansen to the Gulf of Aden, thereby participating in the ongoing Operation Atalanta, the European Union’s counter-piracy campaign in Somalia. Fridtjof Nansen joined the campaign in August 2009.
Fridtjof Nansen’s engagement in Operation Atalanta was carried out without a permanently stationed helicopter. Mainly due to delays in delivery of the new NH-90, the ship is equipped with two ultra-fast RHIBs as a replacement. In November 2009 she became involved in a fire-fight with suspected pirates after being attacked while inspecting a fishing vessel.In 2014, Fridtjof Nansen took part in the naval exercise RIMPAC 2014 in the Pacific Ocean. During the exercise, she used a Naval Strike Missile to sink the USS Ogden, a decommissioned US Navy amphibious transport dock, as a target 55 nautical miles northwest of Hawaii on July 10, 2014.