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Portuguese Navy's first modernised M-class frigate arrives in Lisbon

The Portuguese Navy's Bartolomeu Dias-class M-frigates were acquired from the Royal Netherlands Navy in 2006 and now form the backbone of Portugal's surface fleet. They serve alongside three Vasco da Gama-class (MEKO 200PN) frigates that were ordered from Germany in 1986 (Portuguese Navy)

The first of the Portuguese Navy's two Bartolomeu Dias (M)-class multipurpose frigates returned to the Lisbon Naval Base on 25 October after completing its mid-life upgrade (MLU) in the Netherlands, the service has told Janes.

First-of-class NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F 333) sailed to Den Helder in May 2018 for the start of its upgrade programme, which was carried out by the Royal Netherlands Navy's Naval Maintenance and Sustainment Agency under the lead of the Dutch Ministry of Defence's Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO). The MLU of the ship was initially scheduled to be completed in 2020.

Sister ship NRP D Francisco de Almeida (F 334), meanwhile, has been undergoing an identical MLU since July 2020, with completion scheduled for 2022.

The modernisation of Portugal's two M-class ships was formally approved in September 2016 and aims to extend their service lives until 2035 and address obsolescence issues.

The two ships were acquired by Portugal from the DMO in November 2006 for EUR240 million and were recommissioned in January 2009 and January 2010 to replace Comandante João Belo-class frigates dating from the 1960s.

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