Ocean-going patrol vessel (OPV)

The Holland-class ocean-going patrol vessels are flexible in their deployment and equipped for the surveillance of coastal waters. Along with antiterrorism and anti-piracy operations, these ocean-going patrol vessels are also deployed for counterdrug operations.

The patrol vessels are designed for missions at the lower end of the spectrum of force, such as law enforcement and humanitarian tasks. They are used to perform coast guard tasks on the North Sea and in the Caribbean, for example. There are facilities on board for 90 crew members and temporary crew members to sail for extended periods of time.

The vessels can participate in international task groups or anti-piracy operations. They can also transport relief supplies and take evacuees on board.

Video: the Ocean-going patrol vessel


  • length: 108 metres
  • width: 16 metres
  • draught: 4.55 metres
  • displacement: approx. 3,750 tonnes
  • maximum speed: circa 20 knots (37 kilometres per hour)
  • power: 2 x 5,400 KW (14,500 HP)
  • propulsion: diesel-electric
  • number of propellers: 2
  • complement: 50 crew members, 40 temporary crew members (for instance a helicopter detachment or a medical team). In addition, the ship can carry 100 evacuees.
  • armament:
    • main: 76 mm Oto Melara
    • secondary: 30 mm rapid-fire Oto Melara Marlin
    • 2 remotely operated 12.7 mm heavy machine guns
    • 6 mountings for manually operated MAG machine guns
    • water cannon
    • NH90 maritime combat helicopter
  • quantity: 4
  • in use with: Royal Netherlands Navy
  • further details: the patrol ships can carry two FRISC speedboats.

Four vessels

There are four Holland-class ocean-going patrol vessels:

  • HNLMS Holland (P840, commissioned 6 July 2012)
  • HNLMS Friesland (P842, commissioned 22 January 2013)
  • HNLMS Zeeland (P841, commissioned 23 August 2013)
  • HNLMS Groningen (P843, commissioned 29 November 2013)

Integrated mast module

The integrated mast module (IMM) is built according to an innovative concept. The mast houses all the systems which together form the ‘eyes and ears’ of the ship. This allows the patrol vessel to efficiently detect boats carrying pirates and smugglers, while keeping the airspace under surveillance.

For the first time, camera, radar and communications antenna systems have been combined in a single mast construction. This allows the ship to spot flying and floating objects. The communications equipment in the mast makes it possible to conduct operations all over the world in cooperation with aircraft and other ships.


The 11-metre cone-shaped mast is made up of various sections:

  • Smile: The lower section of the mast is equipped with the new Smile: the world’s first non-rotating long-range search radar.
  • Seastar: At the top of the mast, under the satellite communications equipment, is the Seastar. This radar has a slightly shorter range than the Smile and was developed for spotting smaller boats and swimmers among the waves.
  • Gatekeeper: The middle section houses the ICCAS communications system and the Gatekeeper detection system. The Gatekeeper is a security and warning system which carries out 360-degree surveillance using infrared and high-resolution cameras. The system alerts the crew to what is happening in their immediate surroundings. It is also an important supplement to security when a vessel is at anchor. The high-tech processing software is able to independently detect and identify objects.

Command centre

The command centre is revolutionary in its concept. It is located behind the navigation bridge and is therefore referred to as the ‘command bridge aft’. Unusual are the windows in this room. The navigation bridge is also configured according to a new concept: it is a one-man bridge. From this location, the ship can be fully operated and protected by one person.

Environmentally friendly

Instead of four diesel engines or gas turbines, the patrol vessels have two diesel engines and two electric engines. As the ship is mainly used for patrolling, it does not need larger engines. The electric engines can do up to 10 knots, their fuel consumption is economical and they are environmentally friendly.

There is also a bioreactor on board that treats wastewater so that it is safe to discharge into the sea. The ship is also equipped with a ballast water treatment system.


Due to the centralised operating system and the simple maintenance of the various systems in the integrated mast module, a crew of 50 is sufficient. The groundbreaking maritime concept that makes this possible earned the class the Dutch title ‘ship of the year’ in 2012.


Because of the changing world, with more emphasis on threats such as terrorism and piracy, operations in coastal waters are becoming more important. The two FRISC motor boats carried by the patrol ships allow for very rapid deployment, even in very shallow coastal waters, for example to intercept pirates and drug smugglers. This is especially true of the FRISC in the internal dock underneath the helicopter deck. The other is carried in davits. The vessel is equipped with a large crane to load and unload emergency supplies.