New Mast for Van Speijk

HMS Van Speijk good for many more years of service

HMS Van Speijk was the first of the two Multi-Purpose frigates to be equipped with a new mast. The ship has left the dock in Den Helder after completion of the regular maintenance activities and the M-frigate upkeep program.

The mast is a symbol of the enormous modernization of these frigates. The ships, now operational for about fifteen years, are good for at least ten more years. The Van Speijk was commissioned in 1995 but the M-frigate design stems from 1984. With the new systems the M-frigates are better equipped to fight new threats while remaining fully capable of operating in the highest violence spectrum.

The new mast was conceived to make room for the Seastar, Thales Nederland’s new radar for the detection of small surface targets such as dinghies and swimmers and for helicopter detection. Seastar was developed for anti-piracy, anti-terrorism and anti-drugs trafficking operations. This radar consists of four horizontal faces and is too large to be fitted in the M-frigate’s original mast.

Another new sensor is Thales Nederland’s Gatekeeper, a camera system (infrared and colour TV) for the detection of small surface targets. Both Seastar and Gatekeeper are installed also in the IM400, the integrated sensor and communication system on the “Holland” class patrol ships.

In addition to the new sensors, the M-frigates will receive a D-compass classification camera, een renovated command and control room (comparable to the LCF) a modified helicopter deck that will accommodate the NH90 helicopters and an Integrated Platform Management System. The mast was designed by DMO and was built by the Navy’s Shipyard.

Commander Ad van de Sande of HMS Van Speijk considers leaving the dock with the mast installed as an important moment for the Van Speijk’s crew. “We still have a long way to go, but this moment symbolizes the new Van Speijk.” The crew is anxious to take the ship out to sea. After HMS Van Speijk, its sistership HMS Van Amstel and the two Belgian M-frigates will be given the same modernization treatment.

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Published on:
19 juli 2012

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