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Absalon Class Flexible Support Ship / Command Support Ship

The Absalon class flexible support ships share 80 percent commonality with the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates. The Royal Danish Navy's new flexible support ships (FSS), two 'Absalon' class combat support ships FS-type (Fleksibelt Stotteskib) ships can be described as a new generation of surface combatants. Equipped with main warfare capabilities, the FSS, referred as combat support ships, can participate in any maritime military operation, relatively independent of support and escort vessels as they feature a powerful naval warfare and land attack capability.

This revolutionary new type of ship has an unprecedented capacity for being transformed from a combat ship with the firepower of a traditional frigate to a hospital ship within a day. As a Ro-Ro vessel it has a 900 m flex-deck enabling transport of main battle tanks, military trucks, troops etc. or for instance a containerised hospital. It carries two high-speed insertion crafts for commandoes. The armament is unique: one 127 mm gun (US Mk 45 Mod 4) ready for extended range ammunition, two 35 mm rapid firing guns (Millennium), five Standard Flex container positions each for eight Harpoon Block II or 12 Evolved SeaSparrow missiles and in addition Stinger missiles. The Command Support Ship has complete facilities for a force commander and can accommodate a staff of up to 90 persons.

By 2000 the projected class of Large Standard Ships (known as S3 after the Danish acronym for Strre Standard Skib) is to provide the RDN with a long-range platform for use in multinational peace support operations and other scenarios. This was the next major step in building a highly flexible, cost-effective surface fleet according to the indigenous Stanflex concept. The project is enjoying significant outside interest, most notably from the US Coast Guard which is seeking a suitable design to replace its venerable cutters. They were built by Odense Steel Shipyard for the Danish Navy.

The Danish Navy's "Absalon" flexible support ships are the largest and most versatile ships in the Danish Navy - designed for participation in international operations. At 137 meters long, the Danish Navy's flagship accomodates a crew of 100 and 70 additional personnel. Another 130 can be housed in temporary container facilities that can be installed if the need arises. One of its impressive features is the ability to launch and recover 7.4t, 12 meter fast insertion craft from the cargo deck trough its port stern while underway, for anti-piracy or special forces operations.

The design features five STANFLEX container positions amidships. In principle, any combination of STANFLEX weapon/equipment container suites developed for the Flyvefisken class will fit on the Flexible Support Ship. They carry one 127mm gun and space for weapons container of the same type as in Thetis and Flyvefisken (STANFLEX) classes, two helicopters and a RO-RO deck of 1000m2. The ship can be used for minelaying, transport, support ship, command and hospital roles. In an international context the ships will work together with the new "Patrol ships" (frigates).

The ships are longer than the Thetis class (137m/452ft vice 112.5m/369.1ft) in order to incorporate a mid-ship "multi-function" plug. The beam has grown from 14.4m/47.5ft in Thetis to 19.5m/64.4ft in the new class. An all-diesel propulsion plant driving two shafts (compared to the one-shaft propulsion system chosen for the Thetis class due to the requirement to navigate in ice) allows for a maximum speed of 24 knots. The superstructure is designed and constructed to enhance the ships' stealth characteristics. Additionally, a flight deck and hangar to support flight operations by two helicopters up to 15 tons.

The stern and the deck below the flight deck is designed for roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) of vehicles up to Main Battle Tank size (62 tons). Alternatively, the 900 square meter multi-purpose deck (245 lane-meters) can take 75% of an Army reconnaissance battalion, a containerized hospital with a capacity for 10 surgeries a day, a containerized command module for a staff of up to 70 personnel, a container accommodation for emergency evacuations, or up to 300 mines in modular rails. Facilities for carrying two high-speed insertion craft (Swedish Type SRC-90E) are included. Light displacement will be approximately 4,500 tons and full load displacement of around 6,300 tons. The HDMS Absalon is equipped with two Millennium guns for inner-layer self-defence, one forward and one aft. The Royal Danish Navy chose to equip its Absalon-class ships and patrol vessels with Millennium because of Rheinmetall's state-of-the-art Ahead ammunition and revolver gun technology, both of which ensure an outstanding multi-mission capability. Complemented by the Millennium's high rate of fire, the Ahead principle - a proprietary development of Rheinmetall Defence - significantly increases the probability of hits. The Millennium gun can fire up to 1,000 rounds per minute, with each round containing 152 tungsten sub-projectiles. Teamed with the sustained firepower and extreme precision of the Millennium gun, this advanced ammunition enables multiple engagements at extended ranges before reloading.At the end of 2007, Rheinmetall installed the Millennium 35mm naval gun onboard HDMS Absalon - the Royal Danish Navy's first flexible combat support ship. Throughout subsequent sea trials, this innovative weapon system proved highly effective in engaging surface and air targets alike.

Special forces of the Danish Navy warship "Absalon" stormed a ship captured by Somali pirates on February 5 2010 and released the 25-man crew unharmed. Following a distress call from the captured cargo vessel "Ariella", an international sea and air response resulting in the boarding of the cargo ship by the Danish naval forces. Somali pirates had captured the Ariella some hours before the distress call was sent. The elite forces had scaled the ship s side and freed the crew who had locked themselves in a secure room. This was the first occasion on which a warship that is part of the European Union Naval Force patrol in the Indian Ocean has directly intervened in a hijacking. On this occasion, forces were able to intervene because the ship had registered with naval authorities, was traveling along a recommended transit corridor and was part of a group transit, ensuring the ships had a helicopter within 30 minutes' reaction time.

NATO flagship HDMS ESBERN SNARE, in cooperation with international counter-piracy forces successfully disrupted multiple piracy attacks on Panamanian flagged MV Caribbean Carrier and Norwegian flagged Hoegh Oslo who were transiting in the Gulf of Aden. On September 01, 2010 MV Caribbean Carrier was transiting in the International Recommended Transit Corridor (IRTC) in the Gulf of Aden when she reported being under attack from pirates firing at her. US warship Winston Churchill working for combined coalition forces and Danish Warship ESBERN SNARE, the flagship of NATO's counter-piracy mission, responded to the call for help. After the pirates broke off the attack a Spanish Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) working for EU Naval Forces located and tracked the pirate skiff and observed the pirates now trying to attack another ship, MV Hoegh Oslo. After ESBERN SNARE's helicopter arriving on scene, the pirate skiff broke off the attack and tried to escape towards Somalia.

Tthe warship Esbern Snare intercepted a suspicious boat October 26, 2010, confiscated weapons and fuel, and detained six suspected pirates. The Danes then used explosives to mine and sink the boat. The suspected pirates were later released since officials said no crime had been committed. The vessel was a "mother ship," which carries speedboats that are used in pirate attacks.

Copenhagen was founded in the years 1160-67 by Bishop Absalon (1128-1201) - who was at that time the counsellor for King Valdemar I (1131-1182 - Ruled Denmark 1154-57 as Valdemar the Great). It was King Valdemar I that gave Absalon the task to build a city on the east coast of Zealand to protect trade on the Sound (resund). Absalon was the archbishop of Roskilde in 1158 - once the capital of Denmark in the 12th century. Here he initiated the building of Roskilde Cathedral around 1170 - which has been the royal burial place since the 14th century of Danish Kings and Queens. Absalon was also the archbishop of Lund in 1178 - a province in Sweden near Malm. Absalon died in 1201 - and is buried in the old monastery at Sor behind the High Altar. He donated all of his belongings to the monastery and property to his twin brother Esben Snare.

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