The three Vasco da Gama-class MEKO 200PN multi-purpose frigates have just completed 25 years in service with the Portuguese Navy (Marinha de Guerra Portuguesa).
The fleet comprising NRP “Vasco da Gama” (F330), NRP “Álvares Cabral” (F331) e NRP “Corte-Real” (F332) was commissioned in January, May and November 1991 from former German shipbuilders Blohm & Voss and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), now part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS).
A part of Portugal’s latest Military Programming Law, the fleet is scheduled to receive further improvements. ICCS6 integrated communications control system (replacing ICCS2 version) and UHF transceivers will be installed. NAUTOS integrated platform management system (IPMS) and military GPS system will be modernized. Eventually an infra-red search and track (IRST) system will be integrated, and STACOS (Signaal TActical COmmand System) and DDWCS (Dual Director Weapons Control System) replaced or modernized.
The frigates earlier received improvements to their sonar and close-in weapon system and were equipped HF transceivers, automatic message handling system, automatics, electronic chart and display system (ECDIS), automatic identification system (AIS), electro-optical sensor and with ballistic protected weapon mounts armed with 12.7mm heavy machine gun.