Kongsberg Maritime has secured a role in enhancing Dutch-Belgian naval defence with its propeller technology.

Delivering propulsion solutions, the Norwegian business is primed to push for the propulsion system’s optimisation, with an emphasis on mitigating noise signature—a facet in anti-submarine warfare operations.

The company has been entrusted with furnishing Damen Naval’s Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates with controllable pitch propellers and shaft lines. Tasked with bolstering the naval capacity of the Netherlands and Belgium, these vessels are predicted to supplant the ageing Karel Doorman-class multi-purpose frigates.

This collaboration marks Damen Naval’s second rendezvous with Kongsberg Maritime in 18 months, following a precedent-setting contract signed in September 2022 for the German navy’s F126 frigates

Belgium cooperates with the Netherlands to participate in joint exercises and procure equipment, as outlined in GlobalData’s intelligence on the Belgian defence market.

While the primary focus of these frigates revolves around anti-submarine warfare, their operational gamut encompasses an array of missions. Leveraging hybrid diesel-electric propulsion, these vessels are crafted to execute missions with stealth, ensuring operational efficacy. Scheduled for deployment in 2028, the inaugural vessel heralds a boost in maritime defence for both nations.

The 146-metre frigates will be largely automated and able to operate manned only by a small crew. While the primary role of these frigates is the detection and destruction of submarines, each ship comes equipped with a Thales above-water warfare system (AWWS) to combat surface and air threats, as per GlobalData’s “The Netherlands Defense Market 2024-2029” report. 

“It is great news to have Kongsberg Maritime involved in the ASWF project as well,” says Damen Naval Director Corporate Strategy and Innovation Richard Keulen. “We have a long-standing relationship with the company.”

Björn ten Eicken, Vice President – Naval, Kongsberg Maritime, added: “Kongsberg Maritime is proud to have been selected as a partner for this significant Damen Naval frigate programme. The propulsion system for the new frigates has been optimised to match the customers’ strict mission requirements, particularly for noise signature, which is a crucial factor in anti-submarine warfare operations.”

Damen Naval, the prime contractor for the Dutch-Belgian anti-submarine warfare frigates (ASWF), has also signed contracts with Dutch suppliers Hatenboer-Water and Schelde Gears B.V. (a subsidiary of RENK) for freshwater systems and gearbox systems. Damen Naval has also partnered with Alewijnse for systems integration, showcasing Dutch maritime industry collaboration.