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Denmark - Navy

The change from a bi-polar to a multi-polar world in the early 1990´s initiated a change of focus for the Royal Danish Navy. Actively involved in the conflicts in the Persian Gulf Region, the Balkans and the Middle East, the mission portfolio for the Navy shifted from territorial defence in home waters to Peacekeeping and Peace Enforcing Operations further a field with NATO or Coalition Partners. On this backdrop the Navy is in the process of radically changing both inventory and structure in order to increase the capabilities to meet the new tasks.

The transition process includes procurement of larger and more enduring vessels capable of traditional naval operations as well as supporting joint operations in a multinational context.

The Danish Navy consists of Headquarters Admiral Danish Fleet, which includes two subordinate maritime surveillance centres, the Danish Task Group, two operational squadrons, the Navy Frogman Corps (SEALs), which has administrative control of the Naval Military Police and EOD technicians, and two operational logistics support centers.

Marine Staff is Navy's headquarters. Marine Staff was created in 2014 as part of the Joint Services Defence Command, and has headquarters in Karup. Marine Staff responsible for strength development and increase production in the naval area, including strength development, increase production and installation of naval capabilities, maintaining readiness, maintaining protection expertise and safeguard the identity and the implementation and control of the business with the Navy. In addition to staff considered all subordinate authorities to Marine Staff assignments.

With the end of the Cold War, the specialised capacities of the Navy in carrying out littoral operations are to be maintained and further developed, while simultaneously continuing the initiated development regarding flexible support ships and patrol ships. The capacity to participate in NATO's Standing Naval Forces, and participation in the NATO Response Force, is to be prioritised, as this will make it possible to contribute relevant units and task group staff as well as the requisite command platform. Three patrol ships are to be procured within the defence agreement period, while four Standard Flex 300 vessels are to be phased out. Moreover, the Danish Navy's capacity to perform national tasks, including tasks in the North Atlantic region, is to be upheld.

Several national and international initiatives regarding the state's responsibility to provide maritime security, to implement measures to combat the pollution of marine environments and to safeguard the shipping trade against terrorism, increase the scope of the surveillance and monitoring of civilian shipping in Danish waters, which in turn increases the consumption of resources. To strengthen the operational performance of the emergency response services, the Air Force and Navy's rescue coordination centres are to be merged as a joint rescue coordination centre (SRCC) under Admiral Danish Fleet in Århus.

The Navy's compulsory military service is to be reorganised so that naval conscripts theoretically undergo the same training program as specified for Army conscripts, in that the Navy's training programme will also include a number of days at sea for the purpose of recruiting the Navy's permanent personnel. In addition to this, a number of conscripts will be called up for nine months as crew members on the Royal Yacht. Conscripts who serve a tour of duty on the Royal Yacht do not have a subsequent readiness obligation as do other conscripts.

The two largest units of the Navy are the First Squadron and the Second Squadron, which have their home ports at the naval bases in Frederikshavn and Korsør, respectively.

  • The focus of the First Squadron is on national operations in the waters of Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland.
  • The Second Squadron is dedicated to international operations and focused on combat operations.

The vessels and crews that the Navy can deploy in international operations are primarily drawn from the Second Squadron, although vessels from the First Squadron may also be deployed.

Under the Danish Defence Agreement 2005-2009, the Navy is otherwise to be reorganised as follows:

  • The Navy's Frogman Corps (special forces) is to be increased to approximately 90 frogmen, and the Navy's EOD service are to be gathered under the Navy's Diving Centre, which is to be established in Kongsøre.
  • Operational logistics elements are to be established in Korsør and Frederikshavn that can separate the requisite logistics in conjunction with the deployment of naval units in international operations.
  • The Naval Basic Training School is to be transferred from Auderød to Frederikshavn. The Naval Reserve Officers and NCO School is to be established in Frederikshavn. Auderød is to be sold.
  • The number of squadrons is to be reduced to two, whereby the 3rd Squadron and the 5th Squadron are to be decommissioned.
  • The total number of permanent naval employees is set at roughly 3,400, and the number of response force contracts is set at around 50, for which approximately 300 sustainment training days are earmarked each year. The Defence Budget is based on a calculated figure equivalent of some annual 200 full-time conscripts for the Navy.

In determining the basing of naval units and commands, priority was given to the expedient utilisation of the requisite maintenance capacity, including the technical competencies, etc., as well as to striking a suitable balance between the naval bases, as the subsequent consolidation of the various modifications may bring about a need for additional changes.

The navy continues to retain two full crews and a maintenance crew for the three frigates. This is still considered an appropriate utilization of the total capacity, in that all three frigates are used to maintain the level of ambition stated above for the navy. The navy's capacity for international operations is strengthened through the commissioning of frigates and the coming new maritime helicopters.

The 2013-2017 Defence Agreement agreed in November 2012 by seven of the eight political parties represented in the Danish Parliament introduced measures to improve efficiency. The structure of the Royal Danish Navy continued to be built up in accordance with the current and previous Defence Agreements and when the third, and last, Knud Rasmussen Arctic patrol vessel enters service (by 2018) the restructuring will be complete It reflects a reorientation away from a coastal fleet, made up of numerous small and mid sized units, to an ocean-going fleet, composed of fewer but larger units, designed to be able to respond to the entre spectrum of maritime operations. The core of the navy is three 6,000 ton multi-role Iver Huiffeldt class frigates and two 6,300 ton Absalon class littoral combat ships, these are supplemented by four 3,500 ton Thetis class and two Knud Rasmussen Arctic ocean patrol vessels that are mainly designed and dedicated to patrolling the Arctic and North Atlantic areas Denmark fulfils most of the capability codes/statements for warship capable for its primary warships. However, despite an ambition to be able to engage in the full spectrum of NATO operations, the ability to provide kinetic effects in high intensity engagements is, currently, somewhat limited owing to the relatively limited fire power (anti-air warfare and anti-submarine warfare) of the major units.

Under the 2018-2023 Danish Defence Agreement, the existing Naval Staff will be transformed into a Navy Command responsible for development, planning and the generating of naval forces. The new Navy Command will be formed with three subordinate naval squadrons: Arctic and Northern Atlantic, International Operations and National Operations. The operational logistics, the naval surveillance centre sites, the six training, technical and expert centres and the two main naval bases are to be organised under the three squadrons. Deployed naval forces are controlled by the Joint Operations Staff, or by the Joint Arctic Command for the North Atlantic area.

The transformation of the fleet’s ocean-going capabilities is complete. At the core of the navy are three frigates and two flexible support ships. These are supplemented by four ocean patrol vessels (OPV) and three Arctic patrol ships that are dedicated mainly to patrolling the North Atlantic and the Arctic, but can be made available for NATO operations. In the short term, the navy’s capability development priorities, which all have funding plans, include the procurement of an area air defence capability for the frigates; procurement of advanced towed sonar systems, torpedo counter measures and fire control radars for the frigates and the flexible support ships; and procurement of advanced ASW capabilities for the naval helicopters. The medium-term naval capability development priorities are the acquisition of SM-6 long-range surface-to-air missiles and the procurement of replacement OPVs.

The navy is a modern ocean-going force that is expected to meet almost all of the requested NATO Capability Targets, in quantitative terms. In qualitative terms, the current shortfalls in ASW, above-water warfare, maritime BDM stockpiles and mine countermeasures capabilities will, for most part, be addressed by funding identified in the Defence Agreement.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:18:19 ZULU