The Dutch AD(C)Fs were
build as a replacement for the former Tromp-class guided missile frigates of
Netherlands Navy, and (in the guise of ADF) as replacements for
frigates. The ADF is equal in capabilities and appearance to the ADCF, except
for the lack of dedicated Command facilities.
These ships are being build as part of a tri-partite building program between
the Spanish Armada, the German Marine, and the Dutch Royal Navy. Instead of
the failed Horizon program which involved Italy, France, and Great Britain,
this program concentrates upon the Ship Platform and systems, rather than on
combat systems and weaponry. The other ships being developed in this program
are the Spanish F-100, with SPY-1 and Aegis combat system, and the German
F124, which also has the APAR and SEWACO combat system.
The name of "Frigate" for these ships is actually a misnomer: With
a displacement of over 6,000 tons they are destroyers in all but name. When
the first of the class enters service, it will arguably be the most advanced
ship in this size in the world. The Royal Netherlands Navy has apparently
sacrificed upgrades to some of its existing warships in order to provide some
of the needed funds for this class of four ships.
In keeping with the general trend, the ships have extensive Stealth features
designed into them. Their large slightly angled slab sides give them a bit of
the look of the French Lafayette frigates, although the ADCF design is
considerably bigger and capable. Survivability has been a great concern in
designing the ships, and they are subdivided into seven main compartments.
When hit in one of these compartments ventilation, fire control systems, and
power will still be available in the other compartments. In order to achieve
this all necessary systems have full-sized backups.
At first it appeared that the main engines for the ships would be the new
Rolls Royce WR-21, which will also be deployed on the Royal Navy's Type 45
Destroyers. Unfortunately the WR-21 was not available in time (apparently it
won't be available until 2007), so for now the main engines will be
Rolls-Royce SM-1C 'Spey' gas turbines, which are a good design which
unfortunately is getting on in years. However, when the ships were designed
the engine room was designed with the WR-21 in mind, and there is room for
these turbines. It is likely that the ships will receive the WR-21 later on
in their operational lives, a move that would substantially increase fuel
efficiency and raise engine power.
Secondary engines have always been two Wartsila diesel engines, and the
engines drive two adjustable counter rotating propellers.
For sensors, the design features the APAR system, which has been build and
designed by the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada. This is a high-powered
Active Phased Array Radar, which is smaller, yet considerably more powerful,
than the American SPY-1 phased array radar. It can track up to 250 targets at
one time, and at the same time can function as a illumination radar for up to
16 targets (with 32 missiles in the air), removing the need for separate
illumination radars. Because of its relatively small design it was possible
to locate the four APAR panels in a single structure high above sea level. In
a move which cause some last-minute delays the Dutch decided to have the APAR
mount redesigned, so that in the future the guidance equipment for Standard
TBMD missiles can be fitted. The long-range search radar is the SMART-L
phased array 3D radar. This radar is not stabilized, but the emission-angle
of the radar is adapted to the current sea state and angle. It has a range of
up to 400 km, and can track up to 1000 targets. Mounted above the APAR, at
the very top of the ship is a Sirius long-range dual band infra red seeker,
with a maximum range of roughly 30 km. Mounted on the hull is an Atlas
Electronik active sonar.
The ships are presented as
the first line of naval defense against antiship missiles (diving, cruise,
sea-skimming, supersonic) incoming at supersonic speed from any direction,
highly manoeuvring, in all weather conditions and in a severe electronic
warfare environment, as well as aircraft attacks.
The main tasks of these ships are to provide a local area air-defense
capability against airborne targets for a task-group, and to provide that
same task group with dedicated command facilities.
The missions assigned to this class of
Anti-Air Warfare (to provide local
area air defense of a task group against airborne targets, in particular
against saturating anti-ship missile attacks). To provide a Flagship function
for a Taskforce or a Flotilla (This applies only to the ADCFs, NOT the ADFs,
which will lack command facilities).
Anti-Surface Warfare (to provide a
significant fire power against surface targets by surface-to-surface missiles
and guns as well as the multi-function shipboard helicopter.
Anti-Submarine Warfare (to provide
an anti-submarine defense by using a heavy ASW-helicopter)
Naval Fire Support (to provide fire
support for amphibious landings using the 127mm gun)
The AAW system of the ADCF/ADF is centered on a Thales SEWACO X Information
management system. This is one of the most advanced systems of its kind, and integrates
all sensors and weapons into one system, using a network of fiberglass cables
and a series of high-powered computers.
'APAR' multifunction phased array radar:
The APAR (Active Phased Array Radar) by Thales contains four active phased
array antennas with 3200 modules each, which together provide a 360 degrees
azimuth coverage. Some other features of the system are multi-function
capability, digital Doppler processing, digital pulse compression techniques,
graceful degradation and flexible waveform generation. APAR operates in
I/J-band, which makes the radar an excellent sensor for the detection of
sea-skimming missiles. The APAR system has one main waveform generator, plus
two additional waveform generators to provide missile guidance links and target
illumination in the terminal phase of engagement. Each array can generate up
to four beams for 16 simultaneous engagements and 30 SM-2 and ESSM missiles
in the air. Instrumented range is 150km in air search and 75km horizon search
with elevation coverage up to 70 degrees and a capacity to handle 250 tracks.
'SMART-L' Long Range early warning radar:
This is a volume-search early warning long-range air search radar, which has
been designed by Thales. It is a derivative of the smaller SMART-S, using an
LW-09 solid-state transmitter. It uses an 8.2m electronically stabilized
antenna scanning at 12 rpm to an elevation of 70 degrees. SMART-L provides
range, bearing, elevation, and target velocity on each scan. Low observable
targets can be detected at 55km and a conventional target beyond 100km.
Maximum instrumented range is 400km. The ADT track file can carry up to 1000
air, 40 surface and 32 jammer tracks simultaneously. SMART-L is integrated
with the Scout radar for surface surveillance.
'Scout' Surface search radar:
This is an X(I) band LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) surface search and
navigation radar designed to be difficult to detect by enemy ESM. It uses a
1.8m antenna and scans at 24rpm. A 1m2 target can be detected at 5.5nm, a
100m2 target at 15.6nm. Scout is expected to detect a corvette-sized ship at
horizon range and a 5m wooden or GRP boat at 8nm. The maximum-instrumented
range is 24nm. Scout has a power output of about 0.001 W, compared to about
20-kW for a conventional radar. Counter detection range for ESM is estimated
'Sirius' Long range dual band infra red seeker:
This is a high-powered Infra Red surveillance system. It is very useful for
locating sea-skimming missiles. It is designed and build by Thales. Sirius is
a dual-band IR detection and tracking sensor with an 8-12 micron and a 3-5
micron IR camera on a pedestal. The former has a window which elevates to 14
degrees and the latter a window which elevates to 3 degrees. Scan rate is 53
rpm and an airplane can be detected at up to 15km, a missile at up to 12km.
The system can carry over 500 tracks and provides automatic alerts on the 32
most threatening tracks with a false alarm rate of less than 1/hr. SIRIUS
provides data directly to the SEWACO Combat Data System as digital data to
the databus and video to the video bus. Each band can be processed separately
providing three different outputs - each band individually or a combined
'Mirador' Trainable electro optical observation
This is a high-powered Optical and Infra Red surveillance system. Mounted on
the APAR mast, it is designed and build by Thales. Unlike Sirius, which is an
IR-only system which functions in a continuous scanning mode, Mirador is a
combined Optical/IR system, which will be used to help the crew to detect,
identify and observe targets. The main sensor of the Mirador is the ALBATROSS
infrared camera, which is a 3rd generation Focal Plane Array camera made by
Thales. The Mirador array will be fully integrated into the SEWACO system,
and can be used to provide targeting data to the system. Mirador can operate
in a air search mode and in a automatic tracking mode, as well as be directed
to observe targets from any workstation on the bridge and C&C. Mirador
has been mainly added to the ADCF to improve target acquisition and
recognition during brown water operations, but will also be of help with
navigational tasks, especially in bad weather conditions when visibility is
'MK-41 VLS modules:
These are 8-cell vertical launch modules designed and build by United Defense
which are capable of storing and launching an incredible variety of missiles.
In the case of the ADCF, the five MK-41 modules will be filled with 32 SM-2
and 32 quad-packed ESSM missiles.
'Standard Missile-2' surface-to-air-missiles:
The Standard Missile-2 Block IIIA is a member of the Standard family of
missiles which has been around for decades. The Standard missile is a solid
propellant-fueled, tail-controlled, surface to air missile fired by surface
ships. It is designed to counter airplanes and high-speed, high-altitude
anti-ship cruise missiles. Later versions like the Block IIIA have greatly
improved propulsion, electronics and warheads and have added low-level
capabilities, resulting in virtually new missiles. The missile is fired at
its target in a fuel-efficient ballistic trajectory, and only in the last
stage of the trajectory is the target illuminated by the available
illumination radar (APAR for the ADCF), after which the passive seeker head
of the SM-2 steers the missile onto its target.
The SM-2 Block IIIA itself is a much-improved version of the Standard SM-1
surface-to-air missile with an improved motor, improved seeker and a
programmable autopilot for mid-course guidance. Range is double that of the SM-1
The ESSM (Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile) is a short-range surface to air
missile, with extreme maneuverability and an excellent low altitude
performance. When fired it immediately aims for the target illuminated by the
available illumination radar (APAR for the ADCF), after which the passive
seeker head of the ESSM steers the missile onto its target. Four ESSMs can be
packed into a single MK-41 cell, making them very space efficient.
Ship's air self-defense:
'Goalkeeper' 30mm CIWS:
The Goalkeeper is a stand-alone Close In Weapon System meant for engaging
incoming sea-skimming SSMs. They are build by Thales. The Goalkeepers on the
ADCF are incorporated into the Sewaco X system for initial guidance, but
retain an independent search capability. The gun itself is the General
Electric GAU-8 seven barreled 30mm Gatling gun, and has an effective range of
up to 2000 meters. The ammunition is made up of high velocity discarding
sabot armor penetrators. With their ammunition supply, each goalkeeper can
fire four bursts before needing to be reloaded. The Goalkeepers have improved
software to improve their capability to engage dodging targets.
Thales 'Sabre' ESM/ECM:
Sabre ESM is a development of Thales's UAT system and represents one of the
most advanced integrated naval EW systems available worldwide. The Integrated
EW suite combines a multi-band ESM system with a Digital Radio Frequency
Memory (DRFM)-based phased array jammer, which is capable of tracking and
jamming multiple simultaneous threats co-coordinated by a powerful techniques
generator. The Sabre system will have two main Phased Array Emitters, one
will be located on a small sponson just below the bridge on the left corner
of the superstructure, and one located on the right corner of the hangar.
United Defense Mk 36 'SRBOC' Chaff mortar:
A set of mortars, capable of firing Chaff and Flares to confuse and divert
incoming missiles. With minimal modification capable also capable of firing
the 'Nulka', a rocket propelled decoy. It is unknown if the MK-36 system on
the ADCF will have the capability to fire the 'Nulka'.
ANTI-SURFACE WARFARE (ASuW):
Harpoon is a sea-skimming cruise missile designed for anti-ship use, which is
made by Boeing. It features an active radar seeker head, and a 488-pound high
explosive penetrating warhead. It uses a turbojet for cruise flight, and a
solid propellant booster for launch. Maximum range is roughly 90 km at 855
km/ph. The Block II version, which should be available around 2002, will
incorporate GPS guidance and improved software to enable the use of Harpoon
in a littoral environment, and as a Land-Attack missile. The Harpoon missiles
aboard the ADCF are packed into disposable launch containers. Four containers
make up a single launch unit, of which the ADCF has two.
OTO-Breda 127 mm/54 'Compact' DP gun:
This is the ship's main gun, a dual-purpose anti-air/anti-surface gun which
fires rounds to a range of more than 15 kilometers in surface fire mode, and
of 7+ kilometers in anti-aircraft fire mode; maximum firing rate is 45 rounds
per minute; can automatically fire 66x rounds, thanks to three loading drums,
each with 22x rounds; an automatic selection system allows a choice of
ammunition (antiaircraft, surface target, pyrotechnics, chaff); can be also
used for coastal bombardment. The first two guns are the old guns of the
Canadian Iroquois class destroyers, which have been fully revised by
OTOBREDA. The later ships will receive new guns. This gun has the future
potential to fire the ERGM guided projectile, should this become available.
ANTI-SUBMARINE WARFARE (ASW):
The ships will be fitted with the new STM Atlas
Electronik DSQS-24C hull-mounted sonar.
This is the NFH (Nato Frigate Helicopter), as developed by NH-Industries,
which in itself is a consortium formed by four companies: Augusta, Eurocopter
France, Eurocopter Deutschland, and Fokker. The NH-90 is a twin-engine 6-ton
helicopter with a 3-ton useful load. It has a low radar signature fuselage, a
four-bladed rotor, fly-by-wire controls, and multiple redundancies for all
The NH90 will be equipped with sonobuoys or dipping sonar, tactical radar, a
Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD), a tactical Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR)
system, an Electronic Warfare System, different anti-submarine weapons, and a
complete set of passive and active protection measures against the possible
threats. It will be capable of night operations and operations in bad
'Mk.32' Mod 9 ASW torpedo tubes (MK-46
These are fixed torpedo tubes, which will fire the 324mm ASW MK-46 Mod 5
torpedo. The MK-46 torpedo has a diameter of 324mm, a length of 2.6 meters,
and a weight of 232 kg. They use active/passive acoustic homing, and are
designed to attack the propellers of enemy subs. With a two-speed,
reciprocating external combustion engine they can reportedly make up to 45
knots, and have a maximum range of more than 8 km.
AN/SLQ-25 'NIXIE' Torpedo decoy:
This is the Torpedo Countermeasures Transmitting Set AN/SLQ-25A, better known
as 'Nixie'. It is a decoy, which is towed behind the ship on a Fiber Optic
Tow Cable. A signal, which has been generated inside the ship, is emitted by
the decoy, which 'lures' an acoustic homing torpedo away, by making it
believe that the decoy is the ship it is chasing.
Theoretically the Nixie should be able to be deployed anywhere between 10 to
25 knots, but practice has shown that at speeds exceeding 15 knots reeling
the decoy in or out might damage the towing cable.