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Coming of age: Dutch navy makes progress with De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate capability upgrades

HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën pictured in the Atlantic in May 2021 during Exercise ‘At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield 21'. ASD/FS-21 served as a ‘graduation exercise' for the new MBMD capability. (US Navy)

Some two decades after entering service, the Royal Netherlands Navy's (RNLN's) four De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command frigates (luchtverdedigings en commandofregatten: LCF) are receiving a package of improvements intended to sustain and enhance their operational capability into the 2030s.

Alongside a major sensor/command system upgrade conferring a maritime ballistic missile defence (MBMD) capability, all four ships – HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën , HNLMS Tromp , HNLMS De Ruyter , and HNLMS Evertsen – are in line to receive a 127/64 LW Vulcano medium-calibre gun and associated ammunition handling system. Evertsen , currently in refit at the Directie Materiële Instandhouding (DMI) facility inside Den Helder naval base, will be the first LCF to receive the new gun as a replacement for its ageing 127/54 Compact mounting.

Further ahead, at least two ships are planned to receive a further upgrade, which will see the introduction of the Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 and the APAR Block 2 X-band multifunction fire-control radar.

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