Bill for 2 new Belgian ASW Frigates increases by 800 million euros

According to information published by De Morgen on March 30, 2023, the two new Belgian frigates, part of the Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigate (ASWF) program, will cost just over 2 billion euros.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Artist rendering of the future Anti Submarine Warfare Frigate. (Picture source: Dutch MoD)

Since 2018, Belgium and the Netherlands have had an agreement to jointly build four frigates and 12 minehunters. Two plus six for each country. With the Leopold I and the Louise-Marie, the Belgian Navy currently has two frigates in service. The ships were built in the late 1980s and are gradually in need of replacement.

The dossier of the frigates - in which the Netherlands has the lead - is now nearing completion. According to the latest estimate, the construction of the Belgian frigates will end up costing 2.025 billion euros by 2031. Or 796 million euros more than originally anticipated.

According to the Dutch, the additional cost can be logically explained. The prices of raw materials and materials used in shipbuilding, including stainless steel, have risen sharply since 2018.

About the ASWF

The frigates will have a displacement of 5,500 tonnes and are 133 meters in length. They have a complement of up to 110 crew members, with additional space for up to 40 more.

The armament of the vessels includes missiles such as LRASM, RIM-162 ESSM (with quad-packs per cell), and a RAM RIM-116 with 21 missiles. The frigates are also equipped with a torpedo system, and guns such as 1x OTO Melara 76mm with DART ammunition, and 2x 40mm Oto Marlin, as well as several medium and light machine guns. They can carry one NH90 helicopter and one UAV.