Thursday, 21 December 2017

BNS Louise-Marie

When the Aurora visited Zeebrugge during our recent cruise, we could clearly see the Belgian frigate BNS Louise-Marie tied up alongside in the Belgian Naval Base.

BNS Louise-Marie (F931) is the second of two Karel Doorman-class frigates to enter service with the Belgian Navy. She was laid down for the Royal Netherlands Navy in 1985, launched in 1989, and commissioned in 1991. Her original name was HNLMS Willem van der Zaan (F829) and she was sold to Belgium in 2005.

She has since been modernised with newer sensors and an extended hanger, resulting a slightly different silhouette.

Her characteristics are:
  • Displacement: 2,800 tonnes
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 401.33' (122.325m)
    • Beam: 47.1' (14.37m)
    • Draft: 20.0' (6.2m)
  • Propulsion:
  • Speed: 30 knots
  • Complement: 145
  • Armament:
    • 1 x Oto Melara 76mm dual-purpose gun;
    • 1 × Goalkeeper CIWS (close-in weapons system);
    • 16-cell vertical launch system containing RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles;
    • 8 × Harpoon anti-ship missiles;
    • 2 × twin torpedo tubes with Raytheon Mk.46 torpedoes
  • Sensors:
    • Thales Smart-S Mk.1 long-range 3D surveillance and tracking radar;
    • Thales LW08 long-range surveillance radar;
    • Thales SeaWatcher 100 active phased array surface detection and tracking radar;
    • Thales GateKeeper Electro-optical 360° surveillance system;
    • Thales STIR 1.8 Tracking and Illumination Radar system;
    • Thales Nederland Scout (Low Probability of Intercept) surface search/navigation radar;
    • Thales PHS-36 Hull-mounted sonar;
    • Thales Anaconda DSBV 61 VLF passive tactical towed array sonar

  • Aircraft: 1 x NH-90 helicopter

The ship is named for Queen Louise-Marie of Belgium, the wife of Leopold I. She was the daughter of King Louis-Philippe I of France and was Leopold's second wife.

When built for the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Karel Doorman-class originally comprised eight ships, but six have been sold to the Belgian, Chilean, and Portuguese navies:
  • Karel Doorman (F827): Now the BNS Leopold I (F930) (Sold in 2005)
  • Willem van der Zaan (F829): Now the BNS Louise-Marie (F931) (Sold in 2005)
  • Tjerk Hiddes (F830): Now the Chilean Navy's Almirante Riveros (FF-18) (Sold in 2004)
  • Van Amstel (F831): Still in Royal Netherlands Navy service
  • Abraham van der Hulst (F832): Now the Chilean Navy's Blanco Encalada (FF-15) (Sold in 2004)
  • Van Nes (F833): Now the NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F333) (Sold in 2006)
  • Van Galen (F834): Now the NRP Francisco de Almeida (F334) (Sold in 2006)
  • Van Speijk (F828): Still in Royal Netherlands Navy service

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