Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate

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, the Norwegian scientist, explorer and humanitarian. Five ships were ordered from Spanish shipbuilder Bazan (now Navantia). The total projected cost for all five ships is 21 billion kr (about USD 2.54 billion).[1] As of November 2018, four are in active service and one is out of service. Helge Ingstad was out-of-order on 13 November 2018, after she partially sank following a collision with the Maltese-flagged tanker Sola TS on 8 November. She was run aground to prevent her sinking and to allow her crew to escape. Seven sailors were injured in the incident.

Class overview
Name: Fridtjof Nansen class
Builders: Navantia, Ferrol, Spain
Operators:  Royal Norwegian Navy
Preceded by: Oslo class
Completed: 5
Active: 4
Lost: 1
General characteristics
Type: Multi-role frigate
Displacement: 5,290 tons full load
Length: 134 m (440 ft)
Beam: 16.8 m (55 ft)
Draft: 4.6 m (15 ft)
Speed: 27 knots (50 km/h; 31 mph)+
Range: 4.500 nmi (8.334 km; 5.179 mi) at 16 knots (30 km/h; 18 mph)
Complement: 120, accommodations for 146
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1F 3-D 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 fire-control radar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • Condor CS-3701 ECM:/ESM: suite
  • Terma DL-12T decoy launcher
  • Loki torpedo countermeasure
Aircraft carried: 1 × NHIndustries NH90 helicopter


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 also operates six new NFH NH90 helicopters, with the role as an extended "arm" of the frigates' ASW and ASuW capabilities.

Service history

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.[2][3]

Fridtjof Nansen's engagement in Operation Atalanta was carried out without a permanently stationed helicopter.[4] 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).[5]

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

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.[6][7]

In 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 was successfully beached to prevent it sinking and allow the crew to be evacuated.[8] In the early hours of 13 November the vessel partially sank with only smaller sections of the superstructure remaining above water.[9] The vessel was recovered but with the cost of repair prohibitive it has been decommissioned and will be scrapped.[10]

List of ships

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

Fridtjof Nansen class significant dates
Pennant number Name Ordered Laid down Launched Commissioned Notes
F310 Fridtjof Nansen 23 June 2000 9 April 2003 3 June 2004 5 April 2006
F311 Roald Amundsen 23 June 2000 3 June 2004 25 May 2005 21 May 2007[11]
F312 Otto Sverdrup 23 June 2000 25 May 2005 28 April 2006 30 April 2008[12]
F313 Helge Ingstad 23 June 2000 28 April 2006 23 November 2007 29 September 2009 Out of service due to a collision on 8 November 2018, is agrounded and partially sunk in shallow waters on 13 November 2018. Salvage operation completed by Boa & Scaldis on 2 March 2019. F313 was towed on Boa barge 33 to Haakonsvern. Decommisioned 24 June 2019 and will be scrapped.[13]
F314 Thor Heyerdahl 23 June 2000 23 November 2007 11 February 2009 18 January 2011


See also

Similar ships


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


  1. "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.
  2. "Norsk fregatt til Somalia" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Defence Force. Archived from the original on 1 March 2009.
  3. "Norwegian frigate to join fight against piracy". The Norway Post. Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. 1 March 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  4. "Norsk fregatt setter kurs mot Afrika". (in Norwegian). Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  5. "Nansen er klar til dyst" (in Norwegian). Norwegian Defence Force. Archived from the original on 1 August 2009.
  6. ""Helge Ingstad" i posisjon utenfor Syria" ["Helge Ingstad" in position outside Syria]. Bergens Tidende (in Norwegian). 29 December 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  7. "Syria: Denmark and Norway offer to transport chemical weapons" (Press release). Government of Norway. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  8. "Helge Ingstad: Norway's warship collides with tanker in fjord". BBC News. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 8 November 2018.
  9. Nilsen, Thomas (13 November 2018). "Latest: Frigate "Helge Ingstad" sinks". The Barents Observer. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  11. Norwegian Defence Force official website: Første seilas med F311 Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine (in Norwegian)
  12. Norwegian Defence Force official website: Tredje fregatt på norske hender Archived 2 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine (in Norwegian)
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