Sea Platforms

Danish Arctic frigate deployment highlights requirement to augment regional C2

11 December 2019

The Royal Danish Navy Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS (right), the US Military Sealift Command auxiliary ship USNS centre), and the Royal Netherlands Navy M-class frigate HNLMS sail in the Atlantic Ocean in September 2019, during Canada’s ‘Cutlass Fury’ exercise off Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. deployed under Denmark’s Joint Arctic Command between June and July 2019. Source: US Navy

Key Points

  • The Royal Danish Navy recently deployed an Iver Huitfeldt frigate and an Absalon combat support ship to its Greenland-based Joint Arctic Command for the first time, and is planning to deploy such platforms routinely to the region
  • The frigate's capabilities have highlighted Denmark's requirement to improve Arctic command-and-control (C2) to maximise the impact of such capabilities

The Royal Danish Navy (RDN) has completed deployment of an Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate and an Absalon-class combat support ship to the High North to operate under Denmark's Joint Arctic Command for the first time.

Rear Admiral Torben Mikkelsen, Admiral Danish Fleet, told Jane's the RDN would "on a routine basis from now on [be] deploying large ships up there".

The plan to build on these deployments has also demonstrated Denmark's need to augment Arctic command-and-control (C2) capacity to maximise the operational benefits of deploying its larger warships to the region.

The RDN's second-in-class frigate HDMS Peter Willemoes deployed across the region between June and September 2019. Peter Willemoes was followed by HDMS Absalon , which operated in the region from mid-July to mid-August.

As regards Peter Willemoes , "The main task for the frigate was to conduct peacetime routine surveillance, [so] contributing to the sovereignty of the Kingdom. The frigates are deployed to the region to strengthen surveillance, command, control, and communication [C3]," Rear Adm Mikkelsen added.

Deploying such ships has brought new capability to the region for the RDN and the Joint Arctic Command. Frigates, for example, bring more modern sensors and improved air surveillance in particular, when compared to the Thetis-class patrol ships (which have been providing RDN presence in the region).

"As a whole one could argue that the on-board sensors of the frigate enhance Joint Arctic Command ability to build domain awareness," Rear Adm Mikkelsen said.

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