- Flexibility and combat power
New frigates are necessary to be able to defend our sea lines of communication, secure sea areas and participate in international maritime peace keeping operations.
The delivery schedule calls for one new frigate each year from spring 2006, while the remaining four vessels will be completed with one year intervals in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
The programme comprises delivery of 5 multipurpose frigates to the Royal Norwegian Navy. Each frigate will be equipped with one medium size organic helicopter. The project marks the beginning of a new era for the Norwegian Navy, and will enable it to undertake a new and modern role both in the defence of Norway and in operations abroad. The project which, in monetary terms alone, is the largest the Norwegian Defence has ever undertaken.
The new frigates, called the Fridtjof Nansen-class after the heroic Norwegian explorer and humanitarian Fridtjof Nansen, are set to replace the current Oslo-class vessels by 2008. The new frigates will prove a great improvement over their predecessors both in size, personnel, capabilities and equipment. Compared to the old Oslo-class vessels, the new ships will be 35 meters longer, nine meters taller and two meters deeper below water. They will also be five meters broader and have three times the water displacement of the old ships. This will go a great way to solving one of the problems with the Oslo-class: lack of space and much discomfort for the crew.
The crews of the new ships will be made up of 120 personnel in total, 50 of which will be officers, 40 contracted personnel and 30 conscripted sailors. The vessels will have room for 146 people on board. The larger influx of officers and contracted personnel comes as a result of the high technological demands put down by the new equipment, as well as the Navy's desire to keep their crews on duty for longer periods of time. This will ensure mission-continuity, as well as a higher level of professional excellence for the crews.
Trained for two years
The Navy has already begun an extensive recruitment program among personnel already in service, and expects to have the primary skeleton crew of officers for the first vessel selected and in training by August 2003. The remaining crew for the first vessel will be added in 2004 and 2005 and until the Navy takes command of KNM Fridtjof Nansen in 2005, the training of the crew will take place on KNM Horten.
The Fridtjof Nansen vessels will also have extensive medical capabilities on board in order to facilitate them when operating away from shore for extensive periods of time, and to make the vessels more flexible for operations abroad.
Nato-command in 2008
The Fridtjof Nansen-class will be doing extensive service with NATO's permanent Atlantic forces as of 2008, and one of the frigates will be permanently sailing as part of the command as of that year. Until then Norway will, as in the past, continue to contribute to this force, but is unable to retain a permanent presence.