The Danish company OSK Design unveiled at DSEI 2023 its latest naval platform design, the Arctic frigate, specifically crafted for operations in the North Atlantic, High North, and Greenland regions
“The multi-purpose Arctic frigate has been designed and rated for year-round operations in the High North, capable of withstanding the most challenging ice conditions while maintaining optimal performance,” Lars Povl Jensen, Head of Defence at OSK Design told EDR On-Line.
This Arctic-purposed frigate concept has been crafted to respond to the future requirement to replace the ageing Thetis-class frigates in service with the Danish Navy, the OSK Design Head of Defence confirmed.
The Thetis class of vessels was introduced into service in the early 1990s, mainly to patrol the Greenland, Iceland and UK (GIUK) gap and the deep waters surrounding Greenland and the Faroe Islands.
Unlike the new generation patrol vessel programme for the Danish Navy, which platforms are intended to operate in the Baltic and North Sea, and for which the Danish procurement agency has awarded a design contract to a Danish industrial consortium, “the new frigate has been designed to be rated as Polar Class 5 for year-round operations in medium first-year ice (which may include old ice inclusions),” Lars Povl Jensen explained.
“The strengthened hull will have a displacement of around 6,000 tonnes, length and beam of respectively 125 and 18 meters, and a maximum draft of 6 meters to have access to Greenland ports,” the OSK Design Head of Defence highlighted. The propulsion system is based on a state-of-the art diesel-electric arranged configuration featuring azimuthal pods instead of conventional shaft and propellers to offer better manoeuvrability and efficiency in the High North iced waters and a top speed of over 23 knots.
With a crew capacity ranging from 60 to over 125 personnel depending on the task, the new platform features a stern flight deck with hangar to operate a fully equipped helicopter for a range of missions alongside a drone capacity for air, surface and underwater operations in the challenging Arctic environment. The same requirement has influenced the design of the two mission bays, amidship on the main deck and under the flight deck, designed to accommodate various modular systems and stores thanks to the extensive use of Danish company SH Defence’s Cube system, which already integrates several payloads. During DSEI, a VR model of the Cube Mine Laying System was showed fitted on board, although for the specific missions in the Greenland and GIUK areas of operations the ATCAS ASW system, oil spill booms, unmanned platforms and equipment for the Arctic Standby Force are most likely.
Thanks to the large modular mission bays, the Arctic frigate can carry two RHIBs up to 9 meters in length and one stern-launched boat up to 12 meters, and is adaptable for ASW, surface and air surveillance, maintenance of sovereignty, SAR, disaster relief and enhanced self-defence.
The combat system will be based on a command management system with a sensors suite to have a complete naval and aerial situational awareness picture as well as an armament package which according to the images and video presented, includes a 76 mm main gun, a 30 mm inner layer defence system, remotely operated smaller guns, a vertical launching system (VLS) with an undisclosed number of cells, and antiship missiles.
“We are expecting to propose a family of two platform of 125 and 140 meters, the longer one for the GIUK gap ASW operations and the smaller and more manoeuvrable one for missions in the Greenland and Faroe Islands areas,” the head of OSK Design Defence department said. The Danish Navy hasn’t already launched the activities to replace the Thetis-class frigates but this autumn a long-term roadmap and funding could be approved. If the Thetis-class platforms could be retired in the early 2030s, activities on the programme are to be launched around next year and OSK Design is ready with its Arctic frigate design.
Images courtesy OSK Design