Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate

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Class overview
NameFridtjof Nansen class
BuildersNavantia, Ferrol, Spain
Operators Royal Norwegian Navy
Preceded byOslo class
  • NOK 21 billion (2003) for 5 units (est.)
  • NOK 4.2 billion (2003) per unit (est.)
  • USD 489 million per unit (est.)
General characteristics
TypeMulti-role frigate
Displacement5,290 tons full load
Length134 m (439 ft 8 in)
Beam16.8 m (55 ft 1 in)
Draft7.6 m (24 ft 11 in)[1][2]
Speed27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)+
Range4.500 nmi (8.334 km; 5.179 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement120, accommodations for 146
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1F 3D multifunction radar
  • Reutech RSR 210N air/sea surveillance radar
  • Sagem Vigy 20 Electro Optical Director
  • Kongsberg MSI 2005F ASW combat system
  • MRS 2000 hull mounted sonar
  • Captas MK II V1 active/passive towed array sonar
  • 2 × Mark 82 AN/SPG-62 fire-control radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys
  • Condor CS-3701 ECM:/ESM: suite
  • Terma DL-12T decoy launcher
  • Loki torpedo countermeasure
Aircraft carried1 × medium-sized ASW helicopter

The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are a class of frigates that are the main surface combatant units of the Royal Norwegian Navy. The ships are named after famous Norwegian explorers, with the lead ship of the class bearing the name of Fridtjof Nansen. Five ships were ordered from Spanish shipbuilder Bazan (now Navantia).

The total projected cost for all five ships in 2009 was 21 billion kr (about USD 2.44 billion).[3] As of November 2018, four are in active service and one has sunk and was subsequently scrapped.


The frigates were originally intended as a replacement for the aging Oslo-class frigates, with a primary focus on anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Eventually, the need for a robust anti-aircraft defense as well as the possibility of incorporating the Naval Strike Missile surface-to-surface missile produced by Norwegian company Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace led to a more multi-role design. The selection of Navantia as prime contractor led to the design being very similar to the Spanish Navy's Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates, including the incorporation of Lockheed Martin's AEGIS combat system.


The Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates are larger, and have more personnel and equipment than the Oslo-class frigates. Compared to the Oslo-class vessels, the new vessels are 35 meters longer, nine meters taller and two meters deeper below water. They are also five meters broader and have three times the water displacement of the old ships. The frigates operated six NFH NH90 helicopters, with the role as an extended "arm" of the frigates' anti-submarine and anti-surface capabilities but these will be taken out of services (2022) and returned to NH Industries. In 2023, Norway announced the acquisition of 6 MH-60R helicopters. While the helicopters would be prepared to be equipped for anti-submarine operations, they were initially to be deployed with the Norwegian Coast Guard. This meant that the replacement of helicopters specifically to operate off the Fridtjof Nansen-class remained outstanding.[4]

The 2023 defence acquisitions plan indicated that the frigates would undergo technical upgrades beginning in 2025 in order to maintain their operational capabilities.[5]

Service history[edit]

On 26 February 2009, the Norwegian government decided to deploy Fridtjof Nansen to the Gulf of Aden, thereby participating in the ongoing Operation Atalanta, the European Union's counter-piracy campaign in Somalia. Fridtjof Nansen joined the campaign in August 2009.[6][7]

Fridtjof Nansen's engagement in Operation Atalanta was carried out without a permanently stationed helicopter.[8] Mainly due to delays in delivery of the new NH-90, the ship was equipped with two fast RHIBs for its onboard contingent of maritime special operations forces (Marinejegerkommandoen).[9]

In November 2009 she became involved in a firefight with suspected pirates after being attacked while inspecting a fishing vessel.[citation needed]

In December 2013 HNoMS Helge Ingstad and the Danish Absalon-class support ship HDMS Esbern Snare were sent to the Syrian port of Latakia to escort the Norwegian registered RoRo cargo ship Taiko and the Danish cargo ship Ark Futura, which transported Syrian chemical weapons to Italy where they were handed over to a United States Navy ship for destruction in international waters.[10][11]

On 8 November 2018, while returning from participation in Exercise Trident Juncture, Helge Ingstad was involved in a collision with a Maltese-registered oil tanker, Sola TS, that severely damaged the frigate and caused a severe list that placed it in serious danger of sinking in spite of its position. The frigate first ran aground and then was successfully beached and tethered with wire cable to prevent it sinking and allow the crew to be evacuated.[12] In the early hours of 13 November the vessel partially sank with only smaller sections of the superstructure remaining above water.[13] The vessel was recovered but with the cost of repair prohibitive it has been decommissioned and was scrapped.[14]

Ships in class[edit]

The ships are named after explorers Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen, Otto Sverdrup, Helge Ingstad and Thor Heyerdahl.

Pennant number Name Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Decommissioned Status
F310 Fridtjof Nansen 23 June 2000 9 April 2003 3 June 2004 5 April 2006 Active
F311 Roald Amundsen 23 June 2000 3 June 2004 25 May 2005 21 May 2007[15] Active
F312 Otto Sverdrup 23 June 2000 25 May 2005 28 April 2006 30 April 2008[16] Active
F313 Helge Ingstad 23 June 2000 28 April 2006 23 November 2007 29 September 2009 24 June 2019[17] Sold for scrap, January 2021[18]
F314 Thor Heyerdahl 23 June 2000 23 November 2007 11 February 2009 18 January 2011 Active


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The class is prepared for, but not equipped with:


  1. ^ "KNM "FRIDTJOF NANSEN" -". 20 November 2007.
  2. ^ "Fridtjof Nansen (04/2006)". 17 April 2006.
  3. ^ "Fakta om Nansenklasse fregatter" [Facts about Nansen Class frigates]. Norwegian Armed Forces (in Norwegian). 19 March 2003. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  4. ^ Felstead, Peter (15 March 2023). "Norway to Replace its Cancelled NH90s with Six Sikorsky MH-60Rs". European Security and Defence. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  5. ^ "Future Acquisitions For the Norwegian Defence Sector 2023–2030" (PDF). Norwegian Defence Ministry. May 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2023.
  6. ^ "Norsk fregatt til Somalia" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Defence Force. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009.
  7. ^ "Norwegian frigate to join fight against piracy". The Norway Post. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 March 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  8. ^ "Norsk fregatt setter kurs mot Afrika". (in Norwegian). August 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  9. ^ "Nansen er klar til dyst" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Defence Force. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009.
  10. ^ ""Helge Ingstad" i posisjon utenfor Syria" ["Helge Ingstad" in position outside Syria]. Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). 29 December 2013. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Syria: Denmark and Norway offer to transport chemical weapons" (Press release). Government of Norway. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  12. ^ "Helge Ingstad: Norway's warship collides with tanker in fjord". BBC News. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  13. ^ Nilsen, Thomas (13 November 2018). "Latest: Frigate "Helge Ingstad" sinks". The Barents Observer. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Fregatten Helge Ingstad er nå historie". (in Norwegian). Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency. Retrieved 5 July 2022.
  15. ^ Norwegian Defence Force official website: Første seilas med F311 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in Norwegian)
  16. ^ Norwegian Defence Force official website: Tredje fregatt på norske hender Archived 2 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (in Norwegian)
  17. ^ "Ministry confirms frigate scrapping". 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ Fiorenza, Nicholas (18 January 2021). "Norway scraps frigate Helge Ingstad". Retrieved 8 March 2021.

External links[edit]