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[News] Relief in the Red Sea for Operation Aspides (v2)

(B2) The Belgian frigate Louise-Marie finally joined the European operation deployed in the Red Sea on Saturday (May 4). Operation Aspides HQ has just confirmed this. This allows us to have four ships in the area. This was no longer the case for several weeks after the departure of the French and German frigates. 

A somewhat delayed arrival

Having left Zeebrugge on March 10, the Belgian frigate took some time to reach its area of ​​operation. Before the engagement itself, the crew and the frigate had remained in the Mediterranean to train. But at the beginning of April, the general staff indicated that the training period would be extended. “ Training and technical tests were not entirely satisfactory » he indicated in a press release sent to the Belga agency. “ The shortcomings identified are currently being analyzed and corrective measures will be taken with a view to the frigate's commitment to its area of ​​operation. ". The anomalies having been resolved, after several long weeks, the frigate was fully operational.

No helicopter on board

Despite the possibility for the frigate to accommodate a helicopter, it will not be equipped with one. “ After an in-depth analysis, it was decided that the deployment of an NH90 aboard the frigate Louise-Marie was not necessary » according to the Minister of Defense, Ludivine Dedonder, responding to a question-and-answer session in the Chamber. The Belgian navy has only one NH90 helicopter in service! The frigate will, however, be equipped with an anti-drone device. “ Additional defense systems against small and unmanned aircraft and surface craft acquired in collaboration with the Netherlands says the minister.

Two FREMM frigates, Italian and French, and a Greek frigate

The Italian ship ITS Caio Duilio, flagship of the operation was relayed by the frigate ITS Virginio Fasan (F591). While the French frigate Lorraine replaces the French frigate Alsace, which returned to Toulon a little earlier than expected, at the beginning of April, due to lack of ammunition. Two sister frigates of the FREMM type, multi-mission frigates. The Greek frigate Hydra has been on site since the start of the operation.

A Dutch problem

The Dutch ship, the Karel Doorman, which was due to arrive at the beginning of May, will be a little late. It must ensure the support and resupply of the European ships engaged in Aspides as well as the American or British ships of the operation Prosperity Guardian (read : [News] The Netherlands will deploy a logistics ship to the Red Sea in support of Operation Aspides). The Karel Doorman « is experiencing technical issues with one of the weapon systems. These issues arose after Den Helder left and are currently being resolved », indicated Defense Minister Kajsa Ollongren before the House on May 8. “ As soon as Zr.Ms. Karel Doorman has carried out the necessary tests, the ship will return to the operating area as quickly as possible »

No German frigate

The German frigate Hessen present in the operation since February, completed its mission on April 20. But was not immediately replaced. A new German frigate, the Hamburg, will take over in Operation Aspides. But only from the beginning of August.

(Nicolas Gros-Verheyde)

Read also:

Fix: there are four ships in the area, with the frigate Hydra and the technical problems of the Dutch ship

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).

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