Portuguese Navy frigate to undergo midlife upgrade

Portuguese Navy frigate NRP Bartolomeu Dias (F333) departed Portugal on April 26, heading for Den Helder in the Netherlands where it will undergo a modernization program. 

The midlife upgrade of the former Karel Doorman-class frigate is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, the navy said.

Built by the Dutch De Schelde Group in 1992, Bartolomeu Dias (ex HNLMS Van Nes) was sold by the Royal Netherlands Navy to the Portuguese Navy in 2009.

The modernization program is aimed at prolonging the life of the ships belonging to this class by 2035 by upgrading vital ship systems.

As explained, the upgrade is needed for the ship to continue to meet the requirements of NATO and the European Union. It will allow the ship to engage in a wider range of combatant and non-combatant missions, at both national and international level.

Weapons, sensor and communication systems as well as the equipment related to propulsion, vessel maneuvering and power distribution, will be modernized.

Bartolomeu Dias is expected to return to Portugal at the beginning of 2020, according to the navy.