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Navantia and Kongsberg sign MOU in support of future Norwegian frigate MLU

Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence and Aerospace and Spanish shipbuilder Navantia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to collaborate on the future modernisation of the Royal Norwegian Navy's (RNoN's) Fridtjof Nansen (F 310)-class multirole frigates.

The RNoN currently operates four of an original class of five 5,375 tonne Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates, which were built by Navantia in Spain and handed over between 2006 and 2011. The fleet was reduced to four in 2019 after the fourth ship, Helge Ingstad (F 313), was involved in a collision with an oil tanker in 2018 and sank in shallow water. The ship design is derived from the F-100 Alvaro de Bazan-class air-defence frigates built for the Spanish Navy and adapted for an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) primary role.

Announcing the MOU on 17 March, the two companies said they would “evaluate ways of joint collaboration in the future support of the frigates modernisation and with the ultimate goal of providing the best solutions to the Norwegian Armed Forces”.

Navantia has been providing follow-on technical support and maintenance of the frigates since 2013, and in January this year was awarded an audit contract by the Norwegian Defence Material Agency (NDMA) to prepare technical support for the MLU. According to Navantia the audit involves integrating into the design documentation all of the modifications and relevant changes conducted by the NDMA on the frigates since they had been built.

Kongsberg was one of the main contractors of the Nansen Class Frigate Programme as supplier of the anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare combat system modules and has also been involved in supporting the frigates since then.

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