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Deployment of Belgian Navy frigate Louise Marie postponed indefinitely.

| Naval News Navy 2024

According to information published by MarineSchepen on April 13, 2024, the deployment of the Belgian Karel Doorman class frigate Louise-Marie to the Red Sea has been delayed indefinitely following a malfunction during a training exercise.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Karel Doorman class frigate Louise Marie. (Picture source: Belgian MoD)

The incident occurred in the presence of Admiral Michel Hofman, Chief of Defence for the Belgian Armed Forces, during a simulated drone attack, a scenario similar to what the ship might face in the Red Sea.

During the exercise, a RIM-7 Sea Sparrow surface to air missile failed to launch and remained stuck in its tube. Reports indicate that other defensive measures also failed to intercept the training drone.

Originally scheduled to transit through the Suez Canal on April 12, the Louise-Marie was set to join Operation Aspides, aimed at protecting the merchant fleet in the region from Houthi rebel attacks. The mission was to be combined with Operation Agenor, enhancing maritime security in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.

As a result of the malfunction, the frigate will remain in the Mediterranean Sea for an extended training period, as confirmed by the ship's commander and general staff. The ongoing analysis of the identified deficiencies will guide necessary adjustments to prepare for the continued mission.

The Louise-Marie had departed from Zeebrugge about a month ago, conducting joint exercises with HNLMS Tromp along the way, including at the NATO firing range off the coast of Crete, before joining the NATO Response Force in the Mediterranean for a port visit in Dubrovnik, Croatia, as reported in a Facebook post on the ship’s page on March 28.


In 2024, European military warships operating in the Red Sea have faced several technical and operational challenges. The frigate Hessen experienced an incident where it mistakenly engaged a friendly drone due to a technical fault.

This fault was quickly identified and rectified, but it raised concerns about the operational readiness of the German Navy's equipment. The Sachsen-class frigate, had also undergone a significant period without its primary weapons system due to earlier malfunctions​.

The Danish frigate HDMS Iver Huitfeldt also faced technical issues that required cutting its mission in the Red Sea short by approximately two weeks.

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