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Netherlands MoD and Dutch Naval Design team to collaborate on USV development

The USV concept. (Dutch MoD)

The Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Dutch Naval Design (DND) have joined forces to develop an unmanned surface vessel (USV).

Announcing the partnership on 12 April, the MoD said the USV will be designed for deployment from the future anti-submarine warfare frigates (ASWFs) currently under development.

Under the terms of the contract, signed on 10 April, the USV is planned to be completed in around four years, the MoD said. The 12 m long vessel will be “technologically very advanced, sustainable, autonomous, and operationally flexible”, it added.

The Belgian and Dutch navies are procuring two ships each to replace their respective Karel Doorman (M)-class frigates under the ASWF programme. The ships are being designed and built by Damen under a contract awarded by the Dutch Materiel and IT Command (COMMIT) in June 2023. Under the terms of the contract, the first frigate will be delivered to COMMIT in 2028 and handed over to the Dutch navy in 2029, while the Belgian Navy will receive its first ship in 2030.

The ASWF is designed for high‐intensity conflicts and expeditionary warfare, with a principal focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). For ASW operations, the ships will be equipped with a towed low-frequency active sonar, a hull-mounted sonar, Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes, and an NH90 helicopter equipped with dipping sonar, sonobuoys, and lightweight torpedoes. The ship will also have a torpedo defence system.

For more information on the ASWF, please seeASWF class (FRIGATES) (FFGHM).

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