Iver Huitfeldt’s design inherited from the experience gained on the absalon-class support ships


Current fleets are facing air and sea threats with entirely new forms that will impact the naval doctrine of combat for years or even decades to come. These threats include not only supersonic or subsonic anti-ship missiles from any vehicle, but also from asymmetric vehicles such as high speed boats. Threats from this type of vehicle become even more dangerous when operating in coastal areas by the enemy launching massive “bee-style” attacks. Moreover, there are also the threats of attack aircraft, helicopters and even unmanned airborn vehicle.

If you’ve ever wondered why frigates often cause disappointment, you need to recognize what Denmark can do. The small European nation has successfully developed a multitasking frigate class, similar to those designed by the US, but with more firepower.

The Denmark’s Iver Huitfeldt-class guided missile frigate is versatile warships classified as the most powerful in the world. This class consisted of three ships, the Iver Huitfeldt with the F361 hull as the leading ship, which was officially commissioned in the Danish Navy in January 2011; the other two ships are Peter Willemoes and Niels Juel.

Iver Huitfeldt-class
Iver Huitfeldt-class


Iver Huitfeldt’s design inherited from the experience gained on the absalon-class support ships. The reuse of the basic hull design of the absalon class made the Royal Danish Navy able to make the Iver Huitfeldt class significantly cheaper than comparable ships. While the absalon-class ships were primarily designed for command and support, Iver Huitfeldt was born as the main role of air defense with Standard Missiles and the potential to use Tomahawk cruise missiles, a first for the Danish Navy.

Formally, Iver Huitfeldt shares up to 80% with absalon class ships. She has the design of modern ships, seven-deck monohull design with 15 parts watertight. The elongated shape with beveled structure helps reduce the ship’s radar signature, increasing the stealth feature. She is also designed to reduce infrared radiation, underwater noise and magnetic signature.

The superstructure is divided into two parts, the front and the rear, between the two parts is a chimney containing the shrouded smoke funnels. The chimney’s design to prevent excessive steam impact of SMART-L radar. On top of the superstructure is the main mast in the shape of a pyramid, which houses the ship’s four main radar antennas.

Along the rear architectural area are auxiliary gates for inflatable boat or rescue operations. Two naval guns were staggered, one on the deck near the bow of the ship, the other positioned higher, in the middle of the superstructure, giving it an overview of the threats around.

Iver Huitfeldt’s overall dimensions include a length of 138.7m (455 ft), a beam of 19.75m (64.79 ft) and a draft of 5.3m (17.39 ft), her full loaded displacement is 6,645 tons, which is quite bulky compared to other frigates.

All the zones are equipped with separate filters to protect the crew against chemical, radioactive or biological weapon attacks and airlocks are provided between them.


Iver Huitfeldt uses a combined diesel and diesel propulsion system, four MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines drive two shafts, providing 8,2 MegaWatts each. The warship can reach a maximum speed of 30 knots, the range of which can reach 9,300 nautical miles at 18 knots and her crew complement numbers 165.

Sensor and Electronic systems

The ship’s main radar is Thales Nederland APAR air and surface search, operating on I band. It provides 360° target detection, tracking and engagement. Up to 32 missiles can be guided in flight simultaneously, including 16 missiles in terminal stage.

There is also the Thales SMART-L long-range air and surface surveillance radar. It can detect and track ballistic missiles at a range of more than 400 km. It is capable of tracking 1,500 targets simultaneously and provides early warning. Iver Huitfeldt’s radar complex is said to be slightly more capable than the Spanish Aegis system of the Spanish Alvaro de Bazan class frigates.

For surveillance and helicopter guidance, Iver Huitfeldt uses a Terma SCANTER 6000 radar. Other subsystems include ATLAS ASO 94 hull-mounted sonar, Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars, and EDO 3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures.

The frigate is fitted with 12-barrelled Terma DL-12T 130mm decoy launchers, this is a modern decoy-launching system that can fire SeaGnat decoys. The Terma launcher provides 360° coverage against incoming anti-ship missiles.


Iver Huitfeldt’s main air defense weapon is the four Mk.41 Vertical Launch System with up to 32 SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles. There are also two Mk 56 Vertical Launch System with up to 24 RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile. The Iver Huitfeldt has a modular mission payload system, this frigate has slots for six modules.

So it can accommodate either additional Evolved SeaSparrow Missile or Harpoon anti-ship missiles. The vessel can be equipped with 8 to 16 Harpoon block II anti-ship missile system and two dual MU90 Impact anti-submarine warfare torpedo launchers. Also these frigates have potential to be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles. The frigate’s main gun is an Oto Melara 76mm Super Rapid gun.

The Oerlikon Millennium 35mm naval gun system onboard provides close-in air defence, which has a rate of fire of 1,000 rpm and uses special air-burst ammunition to destroy incoming missiles. A 12.7mm machine gun is also available aboard the ship.

This frigate has a hangar and can accommodate NFH 90, Westland Lynx Mk.90B, or similar helicopter, which provides additional anti-submarine warfare capability. Recently Danish Navy ordered Sikorsky MH-60R Seahawk anti-submarine helicopters.

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