HDMS Absalon (L16)

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HDMS Absalon
Career (Denmark)
Name: Absalon
Namesake: Absalon
Ordered: November 2001
Builder: Odense Staalskibsværft
Laid down: November 2003
Launched: 30 January 2005
Commissioned: 2007
Homeport: Frederikshavn
Status: in active service, as of 2015
General characteristics
Class and type: Absalon class flexible support ship
Displacement: 6,300 tonnes
Length: 137.6 m (451 ft 5 in)
Beam: 19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)
Propulsion: 2 × MTU 8000 M70 diesel engines;
two shafts
22,300 bhp (16.4 MW)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Boats and landing
craft carried:
2 × SB90E LCP
2 × RHIBs
Complement: 169
Sensors and
processing systems:
Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D volume search radar
Terma Scanter 2100 surface search radar
Atlas ASO 94 sonar
4 Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars
ES-3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures (ESM)
Electronic warfare
and decoys:
4 × 12-barrelled Terma DL-12T 130 mm decoy launchers
2 × 6-barrelled Terma DL-6T 130 mm decoy launchers
Seagnat Mark 36 SRBOC
Armament: 1 × 5 inch (127 mm)/54 Mark 45 mod 4 gun
7 × 12.7 mm Heavy machine gun
3 × VLS with up to 36 RIM-162 ESSM/RIM-7 Sea Sparrow (Mk 56/Mk 48 VLS)
8-16 × Harpoon Block II SSM
2 × Oerlikon Millennium 35 mm Naval Revolver Gun Systems CIWS
MU90 Impact ASW torpedoes
4 × Stinger Point-defence SAM
Aircraft carried: 2 × EH-101[1] or 2 × Westland Lynx
Aviation facilities: Aft helicopter deck and hangars

HDMS Absalon (L16) and her sister ship HDMS Esbern Snare (L17) are the biggest ships ever to serve in the Royal Danish Navy (RDN),[2] and are the two members of the Absalon class flexible support ships.[3] The two ships in the Absalon class, named after Danish archbishop and statesman Absalon, received full operational status in 2007.

The ships are the first in a series of RDN vessels tasked with carrying out new types of missions, and are to form the backbone of the international operations that the RDN is increasingly focusing on.[4] The Absalon-class ships are primarily designed for command and support roles, with a large ro-ro deck, while the following three frigates of the Ivar Huitfeldt-class will be equipped for a combat role and potentially equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles,[5] a first for the Danish Navy. Although similar to the Absalon-class vessels, the frigates will not have a large ro-ro deck.[6] the frigates received full operational status in 2010 and 2011, replacing the Niels Juel-class corvettes.

Absalon is one of a number of vessels to have been filmed by documentary makers to appear on the Mighty Ships TV programme, detailing the capabilities and stories of the ship and crew.[7]

Somali counter-piracy mission[edit]

Starting in 2008, HDMS Absalon participated in the UN-led counter-piracy mission off Somalia and the east coast of Africa, acting as flagship to the Danish Task Group which led Task Force 150.[8] In September 2008, as part of the task force, Absalon was involved in the capture of 10 pirates, who were eventually set free. On 3 December 2008, after the mandate had been extended,[9] Absalon rescued a disabled skiff with suspected pirates aboard in the Gulf of Aden, 90 miles off the coast of Yemen;[10] the Somali craft was reported to hold rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles, and to have been adrift for several days. The Absalon took the sailors and weapons aboard, sank the craft, and turned the sailors over to the Yemeni Coast Guard.[11] Absalon has reportedly been the most successful counter-piracy warship in the Gulf of Aden, capturing 88 out of the 250 pirates detained.[12]

On 16 March 2009, the Absalon, along with the TCG Giresun, successfully prevented pirates from capturing the Vietnamese cargo ship MV Diamond Falcon.[13][14] Absalon's counter-piracy mission with NATO Taskforce 150 in Somali waters ended April 1, 2009, after resulting in the capture of over 80 pirates, some of whom were transferred to the Netherlands for trial.[15]

On 5 February 2010, the Absalon helped to rescue the crew of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged Ariella, which was being hijacked by six armed pirates. The Absalon dispatched a helicopter and a special forces team, deterring the pirates.[16] On 1 March 2010, Absalon was reported to have sunk a Somali pirate mother ship carrying several pirate speedboats in the Indian Ocean.[17]

On 7 January 2012, the Absalon intercepted and boarded a Somali pirate mothership in the Indian Ocean. The boarding crew freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen who had been held as hostages for over two months. Danish warship captures suspected pirate mothership, frees 14 people off the Horn of Africa - Worldnews.com


  1. ^ The Helicopter hangar / Flexible Support Ship, Denmark naval-technology.com
  2. ^ "Kronprinsen gav ny fregat navn". DR News (in Danish). 2010-11-02. Retrieved 2011-10-23. 
  3. ^ Royal Danish Navy: Support Ships, ABSALON-class
  4. ^ "An Overview of Current, On-Going Danish Naval projects -- 2005-2009 Absalon class Command and Support Ship (CSS / Transport Frigate)". Canadian American Strategic Review. May 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  5. ^ Article in July 2008 issue of Defence Technology International descripes new frigates
  6. ^ "An Overview of Current, On-Going Danish Naval projects 2005-2009 Projekt Patruljeskib – a Patrol Ship or Heavily-Armed Future Frigate". Canadian American Strategic Review. July 2008. Retrieved 2009-07-12. 
  7. ^ Mighty Ships
  8. ^ "Danish navy vessel leads operation against Somali pirates". Monsters and Critics. Retrieved 2010-08-15. [dead link]
  9. ^ "ABSALON forlænget i ADEN-bugten". Forsvaret.dk. 2008-11-27. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  10. ^ Suspected pirates rescued in Gulf of Aden, CNN, 5 December 2008
  11. ^ Danish Navy Rescues Suspected Pirates by Alan Cowell, The New York Times[dead link]
  12. ^ Danish Newspaper Article[dead link]
  13. ^ "Đan Mạch, Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ cùng giải cứu tàu hàng Việt Nam". Viet bao.com (in Vietnamese). 16 March 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Vietnamese Cargo Ship Rescued From Pirates - Turkish Army". Morningstar.com. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009. 
  15. ^ Danish Newspaper Article
  16. ^ BBC News
  17. ^ Lekic, Slobodan (2010-03-01). "Nation & World | NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia | Seattle Times Newspaper". Seattletimes.nwsource.com. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 

External links[edit]