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HDMS Absalon (L16) and her sister ship Esbern Snare are the two biggest ships ever to serve in the Royal Danish Navy (RDN),[2] and are the two members of the Absalon class.[3] The two ships in the Absalon class, named after Danish archbishop and statesman Absalon, received full operational status in 2007.

KDM Absalon (L16) underway in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Greenland on 16 August 2019 (190816-N-TJ319-1251).JPG
Absalon in 2019
Name: Absalon
Namesake: Absalon
Ordered: November 2001
Builder: Odense Staalskibsværft
Laid down: November 2003
Launched: 30 January 2005
Commissioned: 2007
Homeport: Frederikshavn
Status: in active service
General characteristics
Class and type: Absalon-class support ship
Displacement: 6,300 tonnes
Length: 137.6 m (451 ft 5 in)
Beam: 19.5 m (64 ft 0 in)
Draft: 6.3 m (20 ft 8 in)
  • 2 × MTU 8000 M70 diesel engines;
  • two shafts
  • 22,300 bhp (16.6 MW)
Speed: 24 knots (44 km/h)
Range: 9,000 nmi (17,000 km) at 15 kn (28 km/h)
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Complement: 169
Sensors and
processing systems:
  • Thales SMART-S Mk2 3D volume search radar
  • Terma Scanter 2001 surface search radar
  • Atlas ASO 94 sonar
  • 4 Saab CEROS 200 fire control radars
  • ES-3701 Tactical Radar Electronic Support Measures (ESM)
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
  • 4 × 12-barrelled Terma DL-12T 130 mm decoy launchers
  • 2 × 6-barrelled Terma DL-6T 130 mm decoy launchers
  • Seagnat Mark 36 SRBOC
Aircraft carried: 2 × EH-101[1] or 2 × Westland Lynx
Aviation facilities: Aft helicopter deck and hangars

The ships are the first in a series of RDN vessels tasked with carrying out new types of missions, and are to form the backbone of the international operations that the RDN is increasingly focusing on.[4]

The Absalon-class ships are primarily designed for command and support roles, with a large ro-ro deck, while the following three frigates of the Iver Huitfeldt class will be equipped for a combat role and potentially equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles,[5] a first for the Danish Navy. Although similar to the Absalon-class vessels, the frigates will not have a large ro-ro deck.[6] the frigates received full operational status in 2010 and 2011, replacing the Niels Juel-class corvettes.

Absalon is one of a number of vessels to have been filmed by documentary makers to appear on the Mighty Ships TV programme, detailing the capabilities and stories of the ship and crew.[7]



Somali counter-piracy missionEdit

Starting in 2008, HDMS Absalon participated in the UN-led counter-piracy mission off Somalia and the east coast of Africa, acting as flagship to the Danish Task Group which led Task Force 150.[8] In September 2008, as part of the task force, Absalon was involved in the capture of 10 pirates, who were eventually set free. On 3 December 2008, after the mandate had been extended,[9] Absalon rescued a disabled skiff with suspected pirates aboard in the Gulf of Aden, 90 miles off the coast of Yemen;[10] the Somali craft was reported to hold rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47 assault rifles, and to have been adrift for several days. Absalon took the sailors and weapons aboard, sank the craft, and turned the sailors over to the Yemeni Coast Guard.[11] Absalon was reportedly the most successful counter-piracy warship in the Gulf of Aden, capturing 88 out of the 250 pirates detained.[12]

On 16 March 2009, Absalon, along with the Turkish frigate TCG Giresun, successfully prevented pirates from capturing the Vietnamese cargo ship MV Diamond Falcon.[13][14]Absalon's counter-piracy mission with NATO Task Force 150 in Somali waters ended 1 April 2009, after resulting in the capture of over 80 pirates, some of whom were transferred to the Netherlands for trial.[15]

On 5 February 2010, Absalon helped to rescue the crew of the Antigua and Barbuda-flagged merchant vessel Ariella, which was being hijacked by six armed pirates. Absalon dispatched a helicopter and a special forces team, deterring the pirates.[16] On 1 March 2010, Absalon was reported to have sunk a Somali pirate mother ship carrying several pirate speedboats in the Indian Ocean.[17]

On 7 January 2012, Absalon intercepted and boarded a Somali pirate mother ship in the Indian Ocean. The boarding crew freed 14 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen who had been held as hostages for over two months.[18]

The MediterraneanEdit

On 30 November 2015, Minister of Defence Peter Christensen, announced that Absalon was to be moved to the Mediterranean Sea, in order to accommodate Turkey's request to NATO, for a larger military presence in the area.[19]


  1. ^ "Absalon Class Combat / Flexible Support Ship, Denmark". Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Kronprinsen gav ny fregat navn". DR News (in Danish). 2 November 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  3. ^ "Støtteskibe af ABSALON-klassen" (in Danish). Royal Danish Navy. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  4. ^ "An Overview of Current, On-Going Danish Naval projects -- 2005-2009 Absalon class Command and Support Ship (CSS / Transport Frigate)". Canadian American Strategic Review. May 2008. Archived from the original on 24 June 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  5. ^ Lok, Joris Janssen (July 2008). "Danish Modern : Commercial shipbuilding strategy cuts costs of frigates". Defence Technology International. pp. 28–29. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  6. ^ "An Overview of Current, On-Going Danish Naval projects 2005-2009 Projekt Patruljeskib – a Patrol Ship or Heavily-Armed Future Frigate". Canadian American Strategic Review. July 2008. Archived from the original on 15 June 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Mighty Ships Archived 2012-11-04 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Danish navy vessel leads operation against Somali pirates". Monsters and Critics. Archived from the original on May 20, 2011. Retrieved 2010-08-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  9. ^ "ABSALON forlænget i ADEN-bugten". 2008-11-27. Archived from the original on December 10, 2008. Retrieved 2010-08-15. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  10. ^ "Suspected pirates rescued in Gulf of Aden". CNN. 5 December 2008. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  11. ^ Cowell, Alan (5 December 2008). "Danish Navy Rescues Suspected Pirates". The New York Times. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  12. ^ Danish Newspaper Article[dead link]
  13. ^ "Đan Mạch, Thổ Nhĩ Kỳ cùng giải cứu tàu hàng Việt Nam". Viet (in Vietnamese). 16 March 2009. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Vietnamese Cargo Ship Rescued From Pirates - Turkish Army". 16 March 2009. Retrieved 24 March 2009.[dead link]
  15. ^ Sørensen, Laura Marie (17 April 2009). "'Absalon' slap 83 pirater fri". Politiken (in Danish). Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  16. ^ "Nato troops free ship off Somalia after pirate attack". BBC News. 5 February 2010. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  17. ^ Lekic, Slobodan (2 March 2010). "NATO warship sinks pirate ship off Somalia". Seattle Times. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2015. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  18. ^ "Danish warship captures suspected pirate mothership, frees 14 people off the Horn of Africa". 8 January 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Denmark sends pirate hunter Absalon to the Mediterranean". (in Danish). Retrieved 30 November 2015.

External linksEdit