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The Zeven Provinciën-class frigates are highly advanced air-defence and command frigates in service with the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy). This class of ships is also known as LCF (Luchtverdedigings- en commandofregat, air defense and command frigate). The ships are similar to the German Sachsen-class frigates in role and mission. Class overview Operators: Royal Netherlands Navy Preceded by: Tromp-class frigate Cost: €600 million ($816 million) In commission: April 26, 2002 Completed: 4 Active: 4 List of ships F802 De Zeven Provinciën F803 Tromp F804 De Ruyter F805 Evertsen The MS Tromp Anti-air warfare These ships were optimized for the anti-air warfare role. For this role the ships are equipped with an advanced sensor and weapons suite. The primary sensors for this role are the long range surveillance radar SMART-L and the multi-function radar APAR. The SMART-L and APAR are highly complementary, in the sense that SMART-L is a D band radar providing very long range surveillance while APAR is an I band radar providing precise target tracking, a highly capable horizon search capability, and missile guidance using the Interrupted Continuous Wave Illumination (ICWI) technique, thus allowing guidance of 32 semi-active radar homing missiles in flight simultaneously, including 16 in the terminal guidance phase. The primary anti-air weapons are the point defence Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and the area defence SM-2 Block IIIA. The Mk 41 Vertical Launch System is used to house and launch these missiles. 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and 32 SM-2 Block IIIA are carried. The Zeven Provincien Ballistic missile defence The Koninklijke Marine is investigating the use of these ships for the role of Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD). During tests carried out by HNLMS Tromp in the Pacific ocean near Hawaii, experimental modifications to the SMART-L to allow even longer range were proven (detailed in the Tromp article). A study by the Koninklijke Marine, the Netherlands Defence Material Organization, Thales Nederland, Raytheon Missile Systems, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, and Lockheed Martin has been conducted to establish the feasibility of modifying the De Zeven Provinciën class to provide it the capability to intercept ballistic missiles. In particular, the study examined the feasibility of integrating the SM-3 Block IB missile with the SMART-L and APAR radars. The study concluded that - with certain modifications to the SMART-L and APAR, as well as to the ship's Combat Management System and the missile itself - BMD with the De Zeven Provinciën class could be achieved. A contract was awarded for the radar modification in June 2012. The Ruyter Modernizing The De Zeven Provinciën class are very modern. The De Zeven Provinciën-class ships will get the new Smart-L mk2 radar that can detect ballistic missiles at a range of 2,000 km (1,200 mi). The Dutch minister promised also that the APAR radar will have a bigger range than 400 km (250 mi). This is because the Netherlands is the first country that is participating as an active missile shield for NATO. In late 2011, the Ministry of Defence announced a modernization program to upgrade the SMART-L early-warning radar so that De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates can detect and track ballistic missiles at extended range. Although there are no plans to acquire the BDM-capable SM-3 surface-to-air missiles, De Zeven Provinciën-class frigates can pass on the tracking and detection data to other sea-based or land-defense BMD assets, including U.S. Navy’s warships, that can deal with a ballistic missile threat. This modernization program is scheduled for completion by late 2017 for the entire De Zeven Provinciën class. The Evertsen