HDMS Absalon (L16)

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HDMS Absalon (8684593914).jpg
Absalon in 2013
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
General characteristics
Class and type: Absalon-class 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)
  • 2 × MTU 8000 M70 diesel engines;
  • two shafts
  • 22,300 bhp (16.6 MW)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 169
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D volume search radar
  • Terma Scanter 2001 surface search radar
  • Atlas ASO 94 sonar
  • 4 Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars
  • ES-3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures (ESM)
Electronic warfare
& 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
Aircraft carried: 2 × EH-101[1] or 2 × Westland Lynx
Aviation facilities: Aft helicopter deck and hangars

HDMS Absalon (L16) and her sister ship Esbern Snare are the two biggest ships ever to serve in the Royal Danish Navy (RDN),[2] and are the two members of the Absalon class.[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 Iver 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. Absalon took the sailors and weapons aboard, sank the craft, and turned the sailors over to the Yemeni Coast Guard.[11] Absalon was reportedly the most successful counter-piracy warship in the Gulf of Aden, capturing 88 out of the 250 pirates detained.[12]

On 16 March 2009, Absalon, along with the Turkish frigate TCG Giresun, successfully prevented pirates from capturing the Vietnamese cargo ship MV Diamond Falcon.[13][14] Absalon's counter-piracy mission with NATO Task Force 150 in Somali waters ended 1 April 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, Absalon helped to rescue the crew of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged merchant vessel Ariella, which was being hijacked by six armed pirates. 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, Absalon intercepted and boarded a Somali pirate mother ship in the Indian Ocean. The boarding crew freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen who had been held as hostages for over two months.[18]

The Mediterranean[edit]

On 30 November 2015, Minister of Defence Peter Christensen, announced that Absalon was to be moved to the Mediterranean Sea, in order to accommodate Turkey's request to NATO, for a larger military presence in the area.[19]


  1. ^ "Absalon Class Combat / Flexible Support Ship, Denmark". naval-technology.com. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Kronprinsen gav ny fregat navn". DR News (in Danish). 2 November 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Støtteskibe af ABSALON-klassen" (in Danish). Royal Danish Navy. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  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. Archived from the original on 24 June 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  5. ^ Lok, Joris Janssen (July 2008). "Danish Modern : Commercial shipbuilding strategy cuts costs of frigates". Defence Technology International. pp. 28–29. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  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. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  7. ^ Mighty Ships Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Danish navy vessel leads operation against Somali pirates". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  9. ^ "ABSALON forlænget i ADEN-bugten". Forsvaret.dk. 2008-11-27. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-15.
  10. ^ "Suspected pirates rescued in Gulf of Aden". CNN. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  11. ^ Cowell, Alan (5 December 2008). "Danish Navy Rescues Suspected Pirates". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  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 10 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Vietnamese Cargo Ship Rescued From Pirates - Turkish Army". Morningstar.com. 16 March 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.[dead link]
  15. ^ Sørensen, Laura Marie (17 April 2009). "'Absalon' slap 83 pirater fri". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Nato troops free ship off Somalia after pirate attack". BBC News. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  17. ^ Lekic, Slobodan (2 March 2010). "NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  18. ^ "Danish warship captures suspected pirate mothership, frees 14 people off the Horn of Africa". Worldnews.com. 8 January 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Denmark sends pirate hunter Absalon to the Mediterranean". DR.dk (in Danish). Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External links[edit]