The Royal Dutch Navy will continue thinning its ranks of excess warships in the next few years as a result of several major transfers. In July 2005, the Netherlands announced the sale to Belgium of the two 3,300-ton (full load) Karel Dorman-class frigates Van Amstel and Van Ness. These warships are barely more than a decade old, having entered service in the 1990s. Armed with Harpoon anti-ship missiles and vertically-launched NATO Sea Sparrow surface-to-air missiles, the frigates have at least a dozen years of service life remaining, and can be expected to serve Belgium well into the future. Although no official transfer dates have been announced, these capable warships are expected to replace Belgium's two remaining Wielingen-class frigates, Wielingen and Westdiep, which are now nearly thirty years old.
By Eric Wertheim, Editor, <i>Combat Fleets of the World</i>