Sunday, 6 July 2014

HMDS Triton

On the face of it, Denmark is a small country. Its population is just over 5.5 million and it has a land area of nearly 43,000km² (approximately 16,600 square miles). However when you include Greenland and the Faroe Islands – both of which are autonomous countries that form part of the Danish realm – the area of Danish territory expands by nearly 2,170,000km² (approximately 837,000 square miles) although the population increase is only just over 107,000 people.

Defending this overseas territory is one of the tasks of the Royal Danish Armed Forces, and the Royal Danish Navy uses several of its ships to patrol the seas around Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Foremost amongst these is HMDS Triton and her sister ships.

The Thetis-class ocean patrol frigates (which are also called Stanflex 3000) comprises four ships, that were all built during the early 1990s. The four ships are named:
  • HMDS Thetis (F357)
  • HMDS Triton (F358)
  • HMDS Vædderen (F359)
  • HMDS Hvidbjørnen (F360)
The ships form part of the Royal Danish Navy's Squadron 11 (based in Frederikshavn in northern Denmark) and their main tasks are:
  • The maintenance of Danish sovereignty
  • Search and rescue
  • Fishery inspection
  • Support of local authorities in Greenland and the Faroe Islands
The Thetis-class ocean patrol frigates have double-skinned ice-reinforced hulls. This enables them to break through solid ice up to 80cms (31-inches) thick.

Class Characteristics:
  • Displacement: 3,500 tons
  • Length: 112.5m
  • Beam: 14.4m
  • Draft: 6.0m
  • Propulsion: 3 MAN Burmeister & Wain 12V 28/32 Diesel engines driving a single constant pitch propellor, retractable azimuth thruster (capable of up to 8 knots),  bow thruster
  • Speed: 21.8 knots
  • Range: 8700 nautical miles
  • Complement: 47 to 60 depending upon the role the ship is carrying out
  • Armament: 1 x 76mm OTO Melara Super Rapid Gun, 7 x 12.7mm heavy machine guns, 4 x 7.62mm light machine guns, 1 x depth charge rack, MU90 Advanced Lightweight Anti-submarine Torpedo (Additional possible armament upgrades included in the original plans included 2 x 8-cell VL Sea Sparrow SAMs, 8 x Harpoon missiles, 2 x point-defence SAM launchers)
  • Aircraft carried: 1 x Westland Lynx Mk.90B helicopter (as required)
  • Electronic systems and sensors: SaabTech Vectronics 9LV 200 Mk 3 fire control system, SaabTech CTS-36 hull-mounted sonar, Thales TMS 2640 Salmon variable depth sonar, FLIR Systems AN/AAQ-22 SAFIRE thermal imager, Terma Scanter Mil 009 navigational radar, Furuno FR-1505 DA surface search radar, Plessey AWS-6 air search radar
  • Electronic warfare and decoys: Thales Defense Ltd Cutlass radar warning receiver, Thales Defense Scorpion radar jammer, Sea Gnat chaff and flare launchers
Whilst I was on our recent cruise I saw HMDS Triton in Akureyri, Iceland.

HDMS Triton moored alongside in Akureyri, Iceland.
HMDS Triton slowly moves away from the dockside. Her boarding ladder is deployed ... probably to allow the local pilot to disembark after she has left the fjord in which Akureyri is situated.
HMDS Triton's bow section. The 76mm OTO Melera Gun is clearly visible, as is the curved deck edge. The latter allows heavy seas to run off the deck easily, something that is especially important in areas where seawater can freeze quickly and could form on the superstructure of the ship, thus reducing her stability.
HMDS Triton's midships area. Most of her sensors are located in this part of the ship.
HMDS Triton's stern section. This is used as the helicopter flight deck. Unlike most modern frigates, HMDS Triton does not have a transom stern.
HMDS Triton gathers speed as she sails down the fjord towards the open sea.
As can be seen, HMDS Triton has a small hanger just forward of the flight deck in which a Westland Lynx helicopter can be stored when one is deployed aboard.
HMDS Triton's forward mast has a large covered-in crow's nest as well as a radar random. The crow's nest is very useful when the ship is navigating through ice, and is a feature on many ships designed to work in that sort of environment.


  1. Interesting. I'm not really into tech, but I found this posting and the pics very interesting. Not only is the foredeck curved into the side cladding, but I see they dispense with any kind of railing, and there are triangular protruberances before the turret, presumably to sluice seawater away from the latter to ensure its continued traverse capability even in heavy weather.

    But the other thing is the design of these vessels for home security at the same time requiring a long range, given the squadron's commitments in generally subarctic waters. I can't say I know much about the New Zealand navy, but it seems to me this might be the kind of thing suited to the requirements of this country. Mind you, New Zealand's vessels would need to be able to operate effectively in anything from Antarctic to tropical locales.

  2. Archduke Piccolo,

    This type of vessel is an ideal way for a navy to have lots of relatively cheap hulls in service, and it does surprise me that more countries have not built similar ships.

    The follow-up design produced by the Danes is even more versatile, and can act as a light frigate, support craft, HQ ship, minelayer, and even a small amphibious landing ship. The design has now been developed into a more conventional frigate design.

    Something like this would probably be ideal for the RNZN ... and for the RN!

    All the best,