Kongsberg Naval Services, a collaboration between Kongsberg Maritime and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, has clinched a strategic framework agreement with the Norwegian Defence Material Agency. 

The NOK 17bn pact focuses on enhancing operational support, maintenance, and life-extending services for Norway’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates, marking a step toward bolstering maritime defence capabilities.

This deal, valued at up to NOK 17bn over its envisioned lifespan until 2040, positions Kongsberg as the linchpin for managing and providing technical maintenance, modifications, and life-extending services for Norway’s frigate fleet.

Currently, Norway operates 4 Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates. There was consideration as to whether the existing fleet should be modernised or entirely retired and replaced with new frigates. The 2023 Defense Report recommended retirement and replacement of the current fleet with six new frigates, according to GlobalData’s “Norway Defense Market 2023-2028” report.

President and CEO of Kongsberg Gruppen, Geir Håøy, emphasised the collaboration’s significance, stating, “Together with our strong Norwegian suppliers, we can offer efficient and sustainable maintenance services to strengthen the Armed Forces’ operational capability and preparedness, and at the same time provide support to Norway’s allied forces.”

The alliance is not limited to Kongsberg alone, as the company strategically coordinates its efforts with partners, including shipyards Westcon Yards and Coast Center Base, as well as WilNor Governmental Services and Wilhelmsen Ship Management. A collaboration agreement with Navantia also ensures support services from the shipyard that initially constructed the frigates.

According to GlobalData’s intelligence on “The Global Naval Vessels and Surface Combatants Market 2023-2033“, the global market for frigates is valued at $11.9bn in 2023 and is anticipated to register a CAGR of 4.5% over the forecast period to reach $18.5bn by 2033.

Håøy elaborated on the synergy between maritime industry, defence technology, and digitisation, stating, “Maritime industry, defence technology and digitisation are KONGSBERG’s main pillars. In this framework agreement with the Norwegian Armed Forces, these are united to optimise operations and increase technical availability for the Norwegian frigates throughout their lifetime while at the same time facilitating predictable operating and maintenance costs.”

The newly established Kongsberg Naval Services, a joint venture equally owned by Kongsberg Maritime and Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace, is poised to execute the maintenance services outlined in the contract with the Norwegian Defence Material Agency. 

The official contract signing is anticipated later this December, marking a stride toward fortifying Norway’s maritime security and defence capabilities.

Recently, Norway, Germany, and Kongsberg launched a joint initiative to advance naval strike capabilities by developing the SuperSonic Strike Missile Tyrfing, led by Kongsberg. This collaboration builds on Kongsberg’s success with the Naval Strike Missile (NSM), which was deployed by 13 countries from 2011 to 2015.