Thor Heyerdahl’s Newest Adventure

Named for the famous adventurer, Norway’s latest Aegis-equipped frigate joins the fleet


The Norwegian Navy recently commissioned the HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl, the fifth and final of its new Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates equipped with Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System.

Thor Heyerdahl’s adventurous spirit caught the fancy of his Norwegian countrymen and the rest of the world with his voyage aboard the Kon-Tiki in 1947. Today, Norway is just as proud of Heyerdahl’s namesake.

Last month, the Royal Norwegian Navy commissioned the HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F 134), the county’s fifth Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate.

“I am very pleased that we have now taken delivery of the fifth and final frigate,” said Norwegian Defence Minister Grete Faremo at the ceremony. “They constitute a very important part of the Norwegian Armed Forces and will help us get the most modern navy.”

The Aegis Combat System can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines and surface ships, while also protecting the ship against aircraft and missiles as this video of a Norwegian ESSM test shows.

The Thor Heyerdahl features Lockheed Martin’s Aegis Combat System and SPY-1F radar. A seamless radar and missile system that includes Lockheed Martin’s MK 41 Vertical Launching System, Aegis can simultaneously attack land targets, submarines and surface ships, while automatically implementing defenses to protect the ship against aircraft and missiles. The SPY-1F provides robust performance with Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) and second generation Standard Missile(SM-2) capability.

Built at Navantia’s shipyard in Spain of materials much stronger and more sophisticated than the balsa logs Heyerdahl used for the Kon-Tiki, the Thor Heyerdahl measures about 440 feet and weighs 5,200 tons and is part of the largest defense procurement program in Norway’s history. The five Nansen-class frigates represent a key element of Norway’s naval strategy. The new ships replace the Oslo-class frigates which had been in service since 1966.

In addition to Norway, Aegis is the maritime weapon system of choice for more than 100 ships of the United States, Australian, Japanese, the Republic of Korea and Spanish navies. The world’s most capable naval defense system, Aegis has more than 1,200 years of at-sea operational experience and has launched more than 3,800 missiles in tests and real-world operations since it was first deployed in 1983.

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