Netherlands Issues RFI for Future Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigate’s Sonar

Dutch MoD image showing the early design of the future frigate.

The Defense Materiel Organization (Defensie Materieel Organisatie – DMO) of the Netherlands Ministry of Defense issued a request for information (RFI) on August 18, 2021 about a sonar for the future frigates of the Royal Netherlands Navy.

In this request for information, the agency asked for a market consultation to obtain further information and details regarding a mine and obstacle avoidance sonar (MOAS).

According to the RFI released: “The DMO is setting up a market consultation in order to obtain more information about a MOAS. The market consultation will be held in order to determine whether the market can meet certain requirements and the added value of a dedicated MOAS.”

This RFI is made as part of the Karel Doorman-class frigates replacement program. Those frigates will be replaced by new ones referred to as Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigates (ASWF).

The Future Surface Combatant is a project of the Royal Netherlands Navy and Belgian Navy to replace the ageing Multipurpose- or M-frigates (Karel Doorman-class). The future frigates will be replacing HNLMS Van Amstel and HNLMS Van Speijk in the Dutch Navy and Leopold I and the Louise-Marie in the Belgian Navy.

The Dutch MoD started design studies for the M-frigates replacement in 2013. The new frigates are set to fulfill a general purpose role with ASW as its specialty. However, given the limited number of frigates in the Royal Netherlands Navy (six) and Belgian (two) fleets, the Future Surface Combatant are required to excel in all area (air defense, anti surface warfare…). While the Belgian Navy is in charge of the MCM replacement program for both navies, likewise the Dutch Navy is in charge of the M-Frigates replacement program for both the Netherlands and Belgium.

The future frigate will receive RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 anti-aircraft missiles and a successor of the Goalkeeper close-in weapon system. These new weapon systems are complemented by heavy-duty remotely operated machine guns (RWS) and light machine guns for use against small surface threats. To combat larger surface targets, the Dutch Ministry of Defense is purchasing a successor to the Harpoon anti-ship missile.

The main submarine weapon system is a new torpedo purchased through the “Replacement Mk46 Lightweight Torpedo” project. For defending against enemy torpedoes, the frigates will be fitted with a system capable of deceiving enemy torpedoes. In the future, a so-called hardkill system, an anti-torpedo system, is yet to be developed. The frigate has room for a 110-strong crew, but 40 extra beds and various rooms are available for mission-specific personnel and their equipment.

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