The frigate HDMS Esbern Snare (F342), which has been patrolling the waters off the coast of West Africa since October 2021, will be added to the forces made available by Copenhagen to NATO in Europe, the Danish Defence Ministry announced. The minister declined to say where the frigate, which should arrive in Europe in early March, would be positioned. Denmark began boosting its military preparedness in response to Russia’s “unacceptable military pressure” on Ukraine, placing a mobile battalion of 700-800 soldiers on alert under NATO command in the east of the country. Copenhagen has deployed four F-16 fighter jets to Lithuania and announced in January it would send a frigate with 160 crew to reinforce NATO patrols in the Baltic Sea.
HDMS Esbern Snare (F342) is an Absalon-class frigate and is, along with her sister ship, the HDMS Absalon, amongst the largest combat vessels currently commissioned in the Royal Danish Navy. Esbern Snare is part of the first stage of a strategic realignment within the Royal Danish Navy, which is transitioning to focus on international operations, in which Absalon-class vessels will form the backbone. The two ships in the class may be described as a hybrid between a frigate and military transport ship with multiple role capabilities, with the capacity to be transformed from a combat ship with the firepower of a traditional frigate to a hospital ship within a day. The ship is complemented by the Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates.