The Iver Huitfeldt (F361) serves as the lead ship of the three-strong Iver Huitfedlt-class of frigates in service with the Royal Danish Navy today (2015). The types are based some on the preceding Absalon-class which debuted in 2005 and numbered two in all. Construction of the new group spanned from 2008 to 2011 and all three vessels have since been delivered for service. While the earlier Absalon-class was primarily developed as command and support ships, the Iver Huitfeldt-class serves as air defense frigates and their armament suite has been arranged to reflect this.
Iver Huitfeldt was laid down during June 2008, by builder Odense Stallskibsvaerft, and launched in March of 2010. She was commissioned in January of 2011 and currently maintains an active presence in the Royal Danish Navy fleet.
The modern Royal Danish Navy is a modest waterborne force consisting of less than twenty primary vessels ranging from large frigates to small patrol vessels. The Iver Huitfeldt-class represent the largest ships of the fleet and promote the most displacement and greatest speed capability - modern warships through-and-through. The Navy utilizes various divisions in its organization.
The class has retained the basic design lines of the Absalon-class' hull which has served the new warship group well in terms of cost-effectiveness. Her "multi-mission" approach is made possible by a module arrangement in which sections of the ship can be replaced in a short amount of time to affect an all-new ocean-going role. The Iver Huitfeldt has six such module holds for this very purpose.
Her profile takes into account much of what has been learned in modern ship design. Very few features break the slab sides of the blended hull-superstructure approach. There are two main sections of superstructure, one fore and the other aft, and inbetween these sections is a noticeable gap containing the shrouded smoke funnels. These funnels are of a low-profile design themselves and pyramidal in their shape. Similarly, the main mast is entirely enclosed in pyramidal shape over and aft of the bridge area. Side ports along the aft superstructure area feature inflatable boat release areas for fast interception or boarding actions. The deck gun over the forecastle is mounted high atop a small outcropping of the bridge superstructure - offering it a commanding view of the surrounding waters.
As built, Iver Huitfeldt displaces at 6,645 tonnes under full load. She has a length of 455 feet, a beam of 65 feet and a draught of 17 feet. Her propulsion machinery includes 4 x MTU 8000 20V M70 diesel engines allowing for speeds in excess of 28 knots and ranges out to 9,000 nautical miles. Her crew complement numbers 165. Sensor and processing systems include a Thales Nederland SMART-L L-band air/surface search radar (PESA type), a Thales Nederland APAR I-band search, tracking and guidance radar fit (AESA type), the Tema SCANTER 6000 series surveillance/helicopter guidance radar suite, and a pair of Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars. The vessel carries 4 x Terma DL-12T and DL-6T 130mm decoy launchers. Her landing pad over the stern can support the launching and recover of a single medium-class navy helicopter (Westland Lynx / Sikorsky MH-60 types) and full hangar facilities are provided as part of the hull superstructure design.
Armament-wise, the warship is well-outfitted through a 76mm OTO Melara deck gun, 4 x Vertical Launching Systems (Mk 41 VLS) for 32 x SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), 2 x VLS packs (Mk 56 launcher) for 24 x RIM-162 ESSM ("Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile") SAMs, up to 16 x Harpoon (Block II) anti-ship missiles (in place of the Mk 56 VLS launchers), 2 x 35mm Oerlikon "Millennium" Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs), and 2 x Twin MU90 "Impact" torpedo launchers. This gives her the capability to engage inbound aerial threats as well as surface and underwater threats as needed.
Iver Huitfeldt's sisters - Peter Willemoes (F362) and Niels Juel (F363) - followed in being commissioned during June 2011 and November 2011 respectively. All are in active service today (2015).