When the Air Force meets the Navy


  Rear Admiral Jean Paul Robyns, Commander of the Maritime Component recently invited his Air Component counterpart, Lt. General Gérard Van Caelenberge to spend a day at sea aboard the newest Frigate of the Belgian Navy, the F-931 Louise-Marie. 

  It was on December 22nd, 2005, that Belgium and the Netherlands signed the transfer agreement of two general-purpose frigates type M. The contract was signed by the Belgian Minister of Defence, André Flahaut, and the Dutch State Secretary for the Defence, Cees van der Knaap. This purchase concerned the M-frigates F827 Karel Doorman and F829 Willem van der Zaan, who respectively became F930 Leopold I and F931 Louise-Marie with the Belgian navy.
The F-931 Louise-Marie was baptised by HrH. Queen Paola in a ceremony organised at Antwerp on 8 April 2008.

According to the Captain of the Louise-Marie, Commander senior grade Jan De Beurme, his ship is actually the largest vessel in the Belgian Navy, being two meters longer then its sister frigate the F-930 Leopold I. This is due to the fact that the Louise Marie already received an enlargement of her helicopter deck in order to easily accommodate the new NH-90 NFH helicopters ordered by the Belgian Government.
The two frigates are also the most potent assets the Maritime Component ever had. -Marie. 


Characteristics of the F-931 Marie-Louise:

Displacement: 3300 tons
Dimensions: 122 meter x 14.4 meter
Draught: 6,2 meters

Complement
: 154 officers & men

Propulsion:
2 Rolls Royce SPEY 1A gas turbines, total 33.800 hp and 2 Stork Werkspoor diesels total 9.790 pk. 
Max. speed: 29 knots

Armament:

Nato Sea Sparrow Missile VLS
30mm Goalkeeper CIWS
.50 Browning canons
2x4 cell AGM-84 Harpoon
2x APECS-II ECM
2x2 tube Mk.46 Mod 5 Torpedo weapon system
Mark 36 SRBOC
Nixie AN/SLQ-25 torpedo decoy system
1x 76mm Oto Melara kanon
Anaconda underwater detection system


Aircraft:
1x NH90 NFH helicopter when delivered



Both new Belgian Navy frigates F-931 Louise-Marie (nearest) and F-930 Leopold I at Zeebrugge during the 2008 edition of the Fleet Days, clearly justifying Captain Jan De Beurme's claim that due to the extended helicopter flight deck his vessel is the largest in the Navy.


Commander senior grade Jan De Beurme, Lt. General Gérard Van Caelenberge and Colonel Fred Vansina closely following the action from the bridge of the Marie-Louise.


Special paint Sea King RS-05 winching a crew member onto the aft helicopter deck of the Marie-Louise.


A Florennes based Lockheed F-16AM during a "Flying Fish" exercise to simulate an attack on the frigate


The Marie-Louise might be the tallest ship of the Navy but she is also extremely agile as these zigzag manoeuvres at high speed demonstrate. Not at all an easy prey for attacking aircraft.


Alouette III M-1 is approaching the helicopter platform. In the 2012/2013 timeframe these helicopters will be replaced by the new NH-90 NFH.


A "flyboy" overlooking the seas from the bridge of F-931 "Marie-Louise" whishing her many safe journeys.

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 Text and pictures (except otherwise stated) by

© Daniel Brackx (October 2008)

Last updated 05/12/08 15:58   Daniel