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Denmark completes first-of-class SM-2 missile firing

Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate HDMS Niels Juel fires a RIM-66 SM-2 area air defence for the first time on the Andøya test range off Norway on 4 May. (RDN)

The Royal Danish Navy (RDN) has completed a first firing of a RIM-66 Standard Missile-2 (SM-2) area air defence missile from an Iver Huitfeldt-class frigate.

The First-of-Class (FOC) firing, undertaken on the evening of 4 May from HDMS Niels Juel on the Andøya test range off Norway, was designed to prove the integration of the SM-2 Block IIIA missile with ship systems and the Mk 41 vertical launcher system (VLS).

Commissioned in 2011, the RDN's three new Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates were conceived to provide an area anti-air warfare (AAW) capability. The ships marry a Thales-supplied AAW system – featuring the Active Phased Array Radar (APAR) X-band multifunction radar, Signal Multibeam Acquisition Radar for Tracking, L band (SMART-L) D-band volume search radar, and an associated fire-control cluster – with Terma's C-Flex combat management system. Four eight-cell strike-length Lockheed Martin Mk 41 VLS silos are fitted amidships.

However, the planned procurement of SM-2 Block IIIA missile rounds was deferred in 2014 because of changes in budget priorities, leaving the ships with only a local area defence capability – using the RIM-162 Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) – for their first decade of service. It was only with the 2018–23 Defence Agreement that funding provision was made for the procurement of a stock of SM-2 Block IIIA missiles.

Denmark's purchase, totalling missiles, was wrapped up in a larger SM-2 buy for Foreign Military Sales (FMS) customers placed with Raytheon by the US Navy in December 2021. Denmark has ordered 50 SM-2 Block IIIA all-up-rounds under the FMS case.

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