The first of two Portuguese Navy Bartolomeu Dias (M-class) frigates has sailed to Den Helder in the Netherlands to begin its mid-life upgrade (MLU).
Work on first-of-class NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F333) will be carried out at the Royal Netherlands Navy's (RNLN's) shipyard from May and is expected to conclude in late 2019, the Portuguese Navy told Jane’s . Work on sister ship NRP D Francisco de Almeidais (F334) will begin shortly after and is expected to complete in December 2021.
The modernisation of Portugal’s M-class ships in the Netherlands was approved in 2016 for a maximum value of EUR100.63 million (USD120.57 million) in line with the M-Class Frigates User Group (MFG). However, several improvements will be set up through other acquisition procedures.
Weapons, sensor, and communication systems as well as equipment related to propulsion, vessel manoeuvring, and power distribution will be modernised.
Work will include installing new combat management and electronic warfare systems, as well as upgrading the PHS-36 hull-mounted sonar, Goalkeeper close-in weapon system, and Harpoon missile fire-control system. The frigates’ Mk 46 lightweight torpedoes launching systems will be upgraded to the Mk 54 standard, which performs better in littoral waters, while the RIM-7P SeaSparrow point defence missile system will be replaced with the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM).
The modernisation effort aims to extend the service lives of the ships out to 2035 and deliver capabilities to support the continued participation in higher-intensity national and multinational operations.
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