The Norwegian Navy has signed a contract with the Spanish shipyard Bazan for five Frigates. It is the largest defence contract in the nation's history valued at approximately NOK 14 billion (US$1.5 billion). The 10-year contract, signed in Bergen, Norway, provides for the delivery of the first ship in 2005 and completion of the contract by 2009.
Bazan will build the ships based on the F-100 model produced by Bazan for the Spanish armed forces. They will be equipped with a derivative of the US Navy's Aegis combat system, for which Lockheed Martin serves as prime contractor and engineering design agent. The Aegis system is currently operational on 27 TICONDEROGA-class cruisers, 28 ARLEIGH BURKE-class destroyers and four KONGO-class destroyers in Japan, and is in production for Spain's F-100 ships. Lockheed Martin has selected Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace to be an important sub-contractor to develop a mini command and control system to be linked to the AEGIS weapons system.