During the 1990s, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain entered into a tri-nation agreement to jointly design, develop, and construct a new-generation of guided-missile frigate. This resulted in the Sachsen-class for Germany, the De Zeven Provincien-class for the Netherlands, and the Alvaro de Bazan- class for Spain, respectively - all completed with a high degree of commonality to make these frigates truly European in origin (and share the same form and function to boot). For the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNN), the De Zeven Provincien-class became a group of four all-modern surface combatants made up of lead-ship HNLMS De Zeven Provincien (F802) herself and sisters HNLMS Tromp (F803), HNLMS De Ruyter (F804), and HNLMS Evertsen (F805).
De Ruyter, laid down on September 1st, 2000, was launched on April 13th, 2002 and formally commissioned on April 22nd, 2004. She currently (2019) maintains an active status in the RNN.
As built, she displaces 6,050 tonnes when under full load and has a length of 144 meters, a beam of 18.8 meters and a draught of 5.18 meters. Aboard is a typical crew of 174 which can increase to 227. Supported systems include the Thales Nederland SMART-L long-range air-surface surveillance radar, the Thales Nederland APAR air-surface search, tracking/guidance I-band radar, and the DECCA NAV navigational radar. Thales Nederland also supplies the Scout surface-search/navigation set, the Sirius IRST long-range InfraRed (IR) surveillance/tracking unit, and the Mirador optical surveillance/tracking system. The hull-mounted sonar fit is an Atlas Elektronik DSQS-24C and the MK.XII is the ship's IFF system.
The stern section of the ship supports a single-helicopter helipad with combination hangar offering full repair and maintenance facilities. Typically, an NHIndustries NH90 medium-lift navy helicopter is stationed aboard.
Propulsion is through a COmbined Diesel-And-Gas (CODAG) arrangement which utilizes 2 x Wartsila 16V26 marine diesels of 6,800 horsepower output each alongside 2 x Rolls-Royce Spay SM 1C gas turbines of 26,100 horsepower output each. The arrangement drives two shafts astern which feature controllable-pitch, five-bladed propeller units. The CODAG system relies on diesel units for general cruising actions and involves the gas turbines for high-speed dashes.
Installed armament allows the warship to tackle most any at-sea threat. The suite is led by the 127mm /54 caliber OTO-Melara Dual-Purpose (DP) turreted deck gun for ranged projectile fire. Close-in defense is handled by 2 x 30mm Thales Naval Nederland "Goalkeeper" Gatling-type Close-In Weapon Systems (CIWSs) (one positioned forward of the main mast and the other over the helicopter hangar facing aft) and extreme-close-in work is through 2 to 4 x 12.7mm Browning M2 heavy machine guns and up to 6 x 7.62mm FN MAG General Purpose Machine Guns (GPMGs). To round out the projectile/ballistics-based weaponry are 2 x Twin-tubed Mk.32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers supporting the Raytheon Mk.46 Mod 5 torpedo family.
At the heart of this guided-missile cruiser is its missile weapon support. This involves a single 40-cell Mk.41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) supporting the Raytheon "Evolved Sea Sparrow" medium-ranged Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) and the Raytheon "Standard Missile" SM-2 IIIA medium-to-long-ranged SAM. Beyond this are 8 x Harpoon Anti-Ship Missiles (ASMs).
The ship sports built-in stealth features that go beyond its slab-sided construction: there are measures in place to reduce the hull's magnetic signature as well as the ship's running acoustic signature to prying ears. Special design qualities are intended to channel blasts from direct hits in specific ways to mitigate damage on the whole. Two primary citadels are offered, as is a sub-citadel area, featuring maximum protection for the important operational component of the ship. Critical systems have inherent redundancy and insulation is used throughout areas consistently generating dangerous noise levels. Survivability is key and both construction, weapons, and Electronic Warfare (EW) all play their role for the ship.
For her time at sea, De Ruyter has been deployed both locally and abroad and has taken part in several NATO-led ventures, primarily around Mediterranean waters. In 2006, she was deployed near Bahrain during Operation Enduring Freedom and, in 2007, she was host to the first-ever RNN frigate female commander (Jeanette Morang).
Like other Western navy ship types, De Ruyter was called to Somali waters to engage in anti-piracy actions in the region during 2013. The NATO exercise Steadfast Jazz 2013 followed in the Baltic Sea. In 2018, she took part in Trident Juncture, another NATO naval commitment, in Norwegian waters.