Denmark's newest frigates can carry troops like Viking raiders

If you ever wonder why the littoral combat ship is often seen as a disappointment, one really only has to look at what Denmark has done. This small European country has developed vessels that have much of the same multi-mission flexibility as the American-designed vessels, but with a whole lot more firepower.

The Ivar Huitfeldt-class guided missile frigate Peter Willemoes. (Wikimedia Commons)

Denmark’s Iver Huitfeldt-class guided missile frigates are some incredibly versatile ships. They have quite the firepower, according to the Sixteenth Edition of the Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: four eight-cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems and two 12-round Mk 56 vertical launch systems that give the ship 32 RIM-66C SM-2 Standard Missiles and 24 RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles, a 76mm gun, up to 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and two twin 324mm torpedo tubes.

Oh, and they can add a second 76mm gun or a 127mm gun.

Danish Navy Combat Support Ship ‘HDMS Esbern Snare’ in the port of Gdynia, prior to exercise US BALTOPS 2010. (Wikimedia Commons)

But that is not all these ships can do. They are based on the Absalon-class support ships. The Absalon carried a five-inch gun, 16 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and three 12-round Mk 56 vertical-launch systems for a total of 36 RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles. The Absalon also can haul up to 1,700 tons of cargo, including tanks.

A look at the Mk 41 VLS for the SM-2 missiles carried by HDMS Iver Huitfeldt. (Wikimedia Commons)

The Iver Huitfeldt doesn’t quite have that space. This got more engines to reach a higher top speed than the Absalon, but she still has space for some containers and plenty of extra berthing (officially for flag and staff, but anyone can use a bed). In short, she could carry a platoon of troops, and her helipad can operate a helicopter the size of the Merlin.

Allied and partner nation ships, including HDMS Nils Juel, an Iver Huitfeldt-class guided missile frigate (second from left), participate in close-quarters ship maneuvering drills during exercise Baltic Operations (BALTOPS) 2015. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Amanda S. Kitchner)

In other words, these are vessels that clearly outgun the littoral combat ships, albeit the latter ships can out-run them. You can see more on these modern and versatile ships below.