Forces: November 20, 2000


: BELGIAN NAVY LOOKS TO THE FUTURE; After considerable debate, Belgium has decided that it needs to retain the three principle arms of its Navy: surface warfare and anti-submarine ships, minehunters, and support vessels. The three old Wielingen-class frigates (now being upgraded with new radars) are to be replaced in 2010-2012 by two new multi-role vessels. The French Horizon Frigate, Dutch Land Attack Corvette, and German A100/A200 ships are under study. The Belgians want warships that can protect their own interests, but also fit easily into NATO carrier battle groups and amphibious assault groups. Six of the seven Tripartite Minehunters will be modernized and kept in service, and may be given a minesweeping capability if the Dutch or German minesweeping development programs prove effective. Support ships will be replaced as needed to maintain capabilities for naval logistics, underway replenishment, medical evacuation, humanitarian and peacekeeping support.--Stephen V Cole


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