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Damen - M-Frigate / Omega Future Multi-Mission Frigate

Omega positioned as a new product line from Damen in addition to (and above) the famous Sigma product line. The main difference is that there will be no "standard Omega lines": Omega designs will always be fully tailored to customer requirements.

Dutch shipbuilding group Damen unveiled the new 6,000 tons class 'Omega' Frigate design at IndoDefence 2018, the tri service defense exposition in Jakarta, Indonesia. Talking to Navy Recognition at the event, Bob De Smedt, one of the naval architect who worked on the Omega project, said the Omega design was representative of an early concept for the Royal Netherlands Navy (Koninklijke Marine) and Belgian Navy (Marinecomponent / Composante marine) M Frigate replacement. The Netherlands and Belgium are jointly procuring four frigates (two each) to replace their M frigates.

But the new Omega class of frigates was unveiled at IndoDefence (and not Euronaval) was because Damen was responding to Indonesia's need for a large frigate (hence the 'FFI' name on a Damen image, standing for Future Frigate Indonesia). TNI AL has an "emerging need" for a 6,000 tons class of frigates as a follow on to its third and fourth PKR frigates (also a Damen design, of the Sigma family).

The Omega / FFI frigate is based on the proven LCF / De Zeven Provincin-class frigate hull form. The vessel features an hybrid propulsion system consisting of 4x diesel engines (two can be used for economic speed, four for sprint) plus 2x electric engines. The Omega frigate features two large multi mission bays: One amidship and one at the stern. As is the trend with latest generation frigates (Type 26 and FTI/Belharra) the midship multimission bay goes across from port to starboard sides with an overhead handling system to load and move containers or launch and recover RHIBS or USVs/UUVs.


The Netherlands and Belgium jointly purchase multipurpose frigates and mine control vessels. Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten and her Belgian colleague Steven Vandeput took the next step with the signing of 2 Memoranda of Understanding. This happened in the margins of the 2-day NATO meeting that took place in Brussels 06 August 2018. The Netherlands government announced that it would replace the M-frigates and mine-fighting vessels. Belgium takes the lead in the purchase of the 12 mine-fighting vessels, of which 6 for the Netherlands, and the associated unmanned systems. The Netherlands takes the lead in the purchase of the M-frigates. As a leading party, it concludes a contract for 4 frigates, 2 of which for Belgium.

Minister Bijleveld said: "You have to be able to count on the neighbors if you want to keep the neighborhood safe. And the Netherlands is very happy with such southern neighbors. Our cooperation is good. Very well. We look back on decades of cooperation between our armed forces. In the field of missions, maintenance, cross-border logistics and air monitoring, and training and training of our staff. "

The Defense organization applied for offers without competition to Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales Netherlands. This happens with the frigates with a view to national security. Belgium does grant the mines fighters European. The first Dutch frigates and mine fighters are expected to enter service in 2025.

Multi-purpose frigates, or M-frigates, can counter serious naval threats such as other frigates, aircrafts, missiles and submarines. These powerful warships with adequate weapons and sophisticated sensors are also very effective during missions with a lower threat level as well as against so called asymmetric opponents such as terrorists, pirates or illicit traffickers. By serving these multiple purposes, M-frigates are considered the workhorses of the fleet. The M-frigates are operationally deployed and maintained together with their sister ships of the Belgian Navy.

The current M-frigates are almost the same in terms of configuration and operations, and that also applies to mine-fighting vessels. This makes it possible for both countries to divide the maintenance among themselves. This provides a considerable saving. The signing was originally planned for 29 May during the so-called Thalassa consultations in Brussels. This consultation between the Dutch and Belgian governments is intended to further strengthen cooperation. However, this meeting was canceled because of the attack in Lige.

These ships will be replaced in cooperation with the Belgian navy between 2024 - 2026 where a total of 4 ships will be built. The information so far has been released in parts and the design is not yet completed. The 2 artist impressions are the latest to be made public with the release of the whitepapers. The 4 ships are very likely to be build by Damen Shipyards, and will be multi-mission ships. They will form the base for the replacement of the Zeven Provincien class later on.

Like the Type 26's the Future Multi-Mission Frigate will feature a mutli-mission bay to fit multiple container modules, in the aft a slipway will be added like the Holland class OPV's for a 11 m RHIB (FRISC) and likely a VDS. On the weapons part not to much has been made public other then the shown images (previous versions showed a RAM on the hangar) and a 16 cells VLS (strike length) on the bow. No final decisions have been made on the weapons yet.

As with the Holland and JSS projects, the Netherlands MOD will design a ship and the shipyard just has to work it out in detail and then build it. The end of the life of the 2 M frigates comes into view. They are less able to cope with current and future threats, systems are outdated and spare parts are difficult to obtain. Last 2 things also cause disproportionately high maintenance costs.

Frigates are the backbone of the navy and replacement is therefore essential. Due to their strength, they ensure safety at sea, defense of their own territory and that of allies and unrestricted sea transport. Where the air defense and command frigates specialize in air defense, the M-frigates are in submarine combat. And the latter is a capacity that NATO has a great need for. In addition to combat operations, frigates are also suitable for, for example, terrorism, drugs and piracy control and the provision of emergency aid.

The construction of a complex ship like a frigate takes more than 7 years. The first new frigate is expected to be operational from 2025 onwards.

According to figures made public in December 2019, the design is 134 meters long and has a beam of 17.1 meters. The displacement at commissioning is 5475 tons, at the end of the service life it can be 5700 tons. This is the allowance the design offers for future modernisations or extensions. With these specs, this design sits between the M-frigate and the LCF, these ships are 122 and 144 meters long, respectively, but are moving towards the LCF in terms of water displacement. It is striking that it was previously stated that the navy sought as many agreements as possible with the replacements of the LCFs. Those ships may be larger than the LCFs, smaller is unlikely.

Length 144 meters
Breadth 18.8 meters
Displacement 6100 tons
Max. speed 29 knots
Range 5,000 nautical miles @ 18 knots
Endurance 30 days at sea
Stabilisation Rudder roll (similar to LCF)
Crew: 122 sailors (accommodations for up to 160)
Storage space 3 x 12 meters RHIBs
Hangar space 2 x medium lift helicopters and/or UAV.

Damen - Omega Frigate Damen - Omega Frigate Damen - Omega Frigate Damen - Omega Frigate

Damen - M-Frigate Damen - M-Frigate

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Page last modified: 26-12-2019 18:24:44 ZULU