June 7, 2007: The second of five Norwegian Nansen
class frigates, the Roald Amundsen, has completed its sea trials and entered
service. The 5,200 ton Nansen class ships are being built in Spain and cost
$600 million each. The 433 foot long Nansens have a top speed of 48 kilometers
an hour. Weapons include eight NSM anti-ship missiles, 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow
Missile anti-aircraft missiles (in an eight cell launcher), one 76mm gun, four
12.7mm machine-guns, four torpedo tubes, depth charges and one helicopter. The
highly automated ships have radar, sonar, electronic countermeasures and a crew
of 130. These ships are equipped with American Aegis radar systems, and their
design is based on the he Spanish Alvaro de Baz√°n class Aegis ships. The U.S.
guards it Aegis radar technology closely, and only five navies have ships using
this AESA type radar and its powerful software.
The last three of the Nansens will enter service in
three years. There have been some complaints about poor quality control in the
Spanish shipyards. Then again, the Spanish yards were the low bidder, and the
Norwegian and German yards that lost out, have not forgotten, nor have their
supporters in Norway. Meanwhile, the Norwegians like the idea of having such a
powerful anti-aircraft ship to deal with any mischief the Russians might be up
to in the future.