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Dutch Navy HNLMS De Zeven Provincien has launched two Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles against subsonic target


On May 19, 2021, during NATO naval exercise Formidable Shield, the Royal Netherlands Navy Air Defense and Command Frigate (ADCF) HNLMS De Zeven Provincienhas launched two Evolved Sea Sparrow ship-borne short-range anti-aircraft missiles against a subsonic target.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 The Royal Netherlands Navy guided-missile carrying fast frigate HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F802) transits the Atlantic Ocean during exercise At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield, May 18, 2021. (Picture source U.S. DoD)


The Sea-Demo/Formidable Shield 2021 is a naval live-fire air and missile defense drill and involves the participation of several ships and personnel. The participating nations are Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, the UK, and the US. A total of 15 ships, dozens of aircraft, and around 3,300 personnel will take part in the drills.

HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën (F802) is the first ship of the De Zeven Provinciën-class air defence and command frigates in service with the Dutch Navy. There are three other ships in this class with the Dutch Navy including the HNLMS Tromp (F803), HNLMS De Ruyter (F804), and HNLMS Evertsen (F805).

HNLMS De Zeven Provinciën frigate has been designed to provide stealth features to reduce radar cross-section, infrared, acoustic, electrical, and magnetic signatures. The ship was launched in April 2000 and commissioned in April 2002. The ship is used for anti-aircraft warfare and command and is equipped with an advanced sensor and weapons suite.

In 2011, the De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates were upgraded with the SMART-L early-warning radar to detect and track ballistic missiles at extended range.

The primary anti-aircraft weapons onboard the De Zeven Provinciën-class frigate are the point defense Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and the area defense RIM-66 Standard Missile (SM-2) Block IIIA. The Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is used to house and launch these missiles. 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and 32 Standard Missile SM-2 Block IIIA are carried.

On 3 May 2018 the Dutch Secretary of Defense, Barbara Visser, informed the Dutch national parliament that the evolved sea sparrow missile (ESSM) aboard the De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates will be upgraded from block 1 to block 2.

The RIM-162 also called Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) is a development of the RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missile used to protect ships from attacking missiles and aircraft. The missile can be loaded in a quad-pack canister for the MK 41 VLS shipborne launching system. It can operate in all weather conditions, has a length of approximately 3.64 m, a diameter of 254 mm, and a weight of 280 kg. The missile has an operational range of 27 nautical miles (50 km).