Saturday, 27 February 2021

PHOTO GALLERY #37: Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt, frigates of the Royal Danish Navy

Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt, frigates of the Royal Danish Navy
This is another photo gallery from my visit to Kiel in 2019, on the first weekend of the 137th Kiel Week. The Kiel Week (German: Kieler Woche) or Kiel Regatta is an annual sailing event in Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. The first weekend of the Kiel Week, the famous Naval Base of Kiel, opens its gates for just four hours per day, for thousands of tourists who are eager to visit the German Navy warships and dozens of foreign warships which visit the city of Kiel, to honor the Kiel Week. Among the visiting ships, were two Royal Danish Navy frigates, the lead ship of the Absalon class ASW frigates HDMS Absalon (L16, now F341) and the lead ship of the Iver Huitfeldt class AAW frigates HDMS Iver Huidfeldt (F361)! This was a quite rare moment to see both lead ships of the current Danish frigate classes together.
 
Royal Danish Navy frigates Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt at Kiel Naval Base

Absalon class frigate
Photo: A. Henry, US Navy

Iver Huidfeldt class frigate
Photo: Chris Cavas
The two ships in the Absalon class frigates (flexible support ships initially) may be described as a hybrid between a frigate and military transport ship with multiple role capabilities, with the capacity to be transformed from a combat ship with the firepower of a traditional frigate to a hospital ship within a day. The class is based on a frigate-like design, but built with an internal multipurpose deck (flex deck), a stern vehicle ramp and a hatch for launching a landing craft. The ships can serve as command platforms for a staff of 75 persons (naval or joint staff) with a containerized command and control centre, transport and base of operations for a company-sized landing force of some 200 men with vehicles. Alternatively, the flex deck can be used for mine-laying operations with a capacity of some 300 mines, or be fitted out for mine-clearing operations and launch and recover mine detecting and clearing equipment via a retractable gantry crane, adjacent to the stern vehicle ramp, which also is used for launching and recovering the fast landing craft. Furthermore, the flex deck can support a containerized hospital or simply transport a number of ISO standard containers or some 55 vehicles, including up to seven MBTs. The ships can carry two LCPs (Storebro SB90E), two rigid hull inflatable boats and two EH101 helicopters. The ships have been recently reclassified to frigates. The ships retain their names, but changed the pennant number from L16 and L17, to F341 and F342. Both ships will be upgraded with towed array sonars by 2026 to fulfill their new role. Absalon is 137 meters long and has a full displacement around 6,600 tons. The Iver Huitfeldt class is a three-ship class of air defence frigates that entered service in 2012 and 2013. The class is built on the experience gained from the Absalon class frigates, and by reusing the basic hull design of the Absalons the Royal Danish Navy have been able to construct the Iver Huitfeldt class considerably cheaper than comparable ships. The frigates are compatible with the Danish Navy's StanFlex modular mission payload system used in the Absalons, and are designed with slots for six modules. Each of the four stanflex positions on the missile deck is able to accommodate either the Mk 141 8-cell Harpoon launcher module, or the 12-cell Mark 56 ESSM VLS. The rest two modules are fitted with two 76mm guns while there is a 32-cell Mk41 VLS amidships for 32 SM-2 IIIA (currently) or SM-3, SM-6 or Tomahawk cruise missiles in the future. Iver Huidfeldt is 139 meters long and has a full displacement around 6,650 tons. Unfortunately the access to her was not allowed. Both ships carry an impressive armament. Enjoy the photos!

 
The two Danish frigates as seen from HMS Albion
HDMS Absalon (L16)
Note the position for a second (FFBNW) CERO 200 FCR aft
The ship can carry 4 in total

Amidships of Absalon and Iver Huidfeldt; full of weapons!
The masts of the two frigates
View of the two frigates
Bow view of the two frigates
Bow view of the two frigates
The Mk45 5in gun of HDMS Absalon visible
View of the two frigates
View of the two frigates. The similarities are clear
HDMS Iver Huidfeldt is fitted with two 76mm guns but
it can receive also a 5in gun and Millennium CIWS in the
same positions as HDMS Absalon
Forward Millennium CIWS and 5i-inch gun
The three masts of HDMS Absalon
View of the frigates' superstructure
The 76mm guns of HDMS Iver Huidfeldt
The forward gun armament of the frigates
The forward gun armament of the frigates
The forward gun armament of the frigates
The forward CEROS 200 FCRs of Absalon
SMART-S Mk2 radar atop of the Absalon's mast
View of Absalon frigate
Note the different height of the flight decks as well as the large
hatch for the stern ramp and the smaller one for CB90 launching
of HDMS Absalon

The large flight decks
Another view of the flight decks
The large hangar of Absalon can accommodate two EH101
or two S70/MH60 helicopters

The hangar of Iver Huidfeldt can accommodate one MH60 or one EH101
The rear Millennium CIWS of the two frigates
The APAR MFR of Iver Huidfeldt. At the top of it there is
the ES-3701 ESM sensor
One of the two Mk141 Harpoon modules of Absalon; in total
the ship carries 16 Harpoon SSM!
One of the three Mk56 ESSM SAM VLS of Absalon;
in total the ship can carry up to 36 ESSM

Mk141 Harpoon launcher
Between the two MK56 VLS there is space for a third one
The four of the total five modules are fitted on Absalon
The two of the htree masts of Absalon are visible
APAR MFR and SATCOM radome  of Iver Huidfeldt
The 32-cell Mk41 VLS of Iver Huidfeldt is fitted in between
two Mk56 12-cell VLS
The 32-cell Mk41 VLS of Iver Huidfeldt is fitted in between
two Mk56 12-cell VLS
The 32-cell Mk41 VLS of Iver Huidfeldt is fitted in between
two Mk56 12-cell VLS
Iver Huidfeldt can carry 16 Harpoon SSM
Harpoon and ESSM launchers on deck
Harpoon and ESSM launchers on deck
One of the many M2HB heavy machine guns on board
APAR MFR
Close-up photo of the two CEROS 200 FCRs
The mast of HDMS Absalon frigate
View of the roof of Absalon's bridge
View of the roof of Iver Huidfeldt's bridge
The interior of Absalon's bridge
View from Absalon's bridge
View from Absalon's bridge
Absalon's bridge
The gun armament of the two ships
The gun armament of the two ships
The two Danish frigates in Kiel
The mast amidships is fitted with the ES3701 ESM
and SATCOM while the aft mast with a SCANTER 2001
(with integrated IFF) surveillance radar

HDMS Absalon
The small hatch contains the torpedo launchers
The small differences between the two bridges are clear
Launching mechanism and SAR RIB
One of the two RIB of HDMS Absalon
The hangar doors and the rear Millennium CIWS
The SMART-L long range surveillance radar of Iver Huidfeldt
MH60R helicopter on board Iver Huidfeldt
MH60R helicopter on board Iver Huidfeldt
SMART-L long range surveillance radar of Iver Huidfeldt
The huge hangar of Absalon
The huge hangar of Absalon
Machine gun mounts and ballistic protection
The two of the three masts of HDMS Absalon
The missile armament on both classes is fitted amidships
The missile armament on both classes is fitted amidships
HMS Albion, HDMS Absalon and HDMS Iver Huidfeldt
HMS Albion, HDMS Absalon and HDMS Iver Huidfeldt

4 comments:

  1. I always wondered why you never got around to writing about these 2 classes of warships.....figured maybe you didnt like them very much for some reason?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right. I should write an article about them. Thank you for your suggestion!
      D.

      Delete
  2. Hey Mitch great photos!

    Can I suggest one alteration: on caption #3 you say there’s four Ceros FCRs but it seems that only three are fitted (two fore and one aft), while the fourth seems FFBNW -- you can see where it could be fitted between the aft Ceros and the millennium gun.

    Also a brief question: do you know how many people the larger life rafts on the aft superstructure of the Iver could hold? They seem much larger than “regular sized” one the ships and other warships generally? (P.S. any photos of the Albion?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hello Valaran,
      I am not implying that there are four FCRs. I say clearly "Note the position for a second CERO 200 FCR aft (4 in total!)" indicating that it can accommodate 4 such systems. It's clear that there is one FCR in that photo anyway and not two. How I could see two? :-D You even spotted it as I did. Perhaps I should add that "it can carry 4 in total".
      I have 150 photos of HMS Albion. I was accompanied by the Commodore himself! My visit to the ships was published in the Greek magazine Ptisi and the interview with him in Warship World magazine. I will upload the photos in near future!
      Kind regards,
      D.

      Delete