Chile likely buyer of remaining two Dutch M-frigates

Royal Netherlands Navy file photo of HNMS Van Speijk (F828)

The Chilean Navy will likely acquire the remaining two Dutch Karel Dorman-class (M-frigates) frigates as they retire from the Royal Netherlands Navy’s service, following the signing of a letter of intent (LoI) between the two sides.

The LoI was signed during the visit of Dutch defense procurement organization director Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard to Chile.

According to the Chief of the Royal Netherlands Navy, Vice Admiral Rob Kramer, HNLMS Van Amstel and HNLMS Van Speijk are expected to be transferred to the Chilean Navy in 2024 and 2027, respectively.

Chile already operates two M-frigates  – former Tjer Kiddes and Abraham van der Hulst – which were sold in 2004 and renamed as Almirante Riveros (FF-18) and Blanco Encalada (FF-15) as they entered Chilean Navy service.

The Royal Netherlands Navy operated a total of eight Karel Doorman-class frigates, all of which will have been sold should Chile buy Van Amstel and Van Speijk. Other buyers of retired M-frigates are Belgium and Portugal.

Belgium and the Netherlands are currently in the process of jointly procuring new anti-submarine warfare-oriented frigates that are expected to start entering service in the mid-2020s. Vice Admiral Rob Kramer noted that the current M-frigates will be sold only after replacement units arrive.

M-frigates currently in service with the navies of the Netherlands, Belgium and Portugal will sail with new Thales identification friend or foe (IFF) systems from 2020.

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