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Royal Danish Navy


Royal Danish Navy

Royal Danish Navy
Founded 1510 (joint Dano-Norwegian fleet); 1814 (separate Danish navy)
Country  Denmark
 Faroe Islands
Size 3,400 personnel + 200 conscripts[1]
16 ships, 28 vessels and 30 boats[2]
Part of Danish Defence Command
Engagements Swedish War of Liberation (1510–23)
Count's Feud (1534–36)
Nordic Seven Years' War (1563–70)
Kalmar War (1611–13)
Torstenson War (1643–45)
Second Nordic War (1657–60)
Scanian War (1675–79)
Great Nordic War (1700 & 1709–20)
Punitive expedition against Barbary (1769–70)[3]
Battle of Copenhagen (1801)
Battle of Copenhagen (1807)
Gunboat War (1807–14)
First Schleswig War (1848–51)
Second Schleswig War (1864)
Operation Desert Shield (1990–91)
Operation Sharp Guard (1993–96)
Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003)
Combined Task Force 150 (2008– )
Combined Task Force 151 (2009– )
Chief of Defence General Peter Bartram[4]
Chief of Navy Staff[5][6] Rear Admiral Frank Trojahn
Peter Tordenskjold, Ivar Huitfeldt, Niels Juel, Herluf Trolle, Olfert Fischer
Naval Ensign

The Royal Danish Navy (Søværnet in Danish) is the sea-based branch of the Danish Defence force. The RDN is mainly responsible for maritime defence and maintaining the sovereignty of Danish, Greenlandic and Faroese territorial waters. Other tasks include surveillance, search and rescue, icebreaking, oil spill recovery and prevention as well as contributions to international tasks and forces.

During the period 1509–1814, when Denmark was in a union with Norway, the Danish Navy was part of the Dano-Norwegian Navy. Until the copenhagenization of the navy in 1807, the navy was a major strategic influence in the European geographical area, but since then its size and influence has drastically declined with a change in government policy. Despite this, the navy is now equipped with a number of large state-of-the-art vessels commissioned since the end of the Cold War. This can be explained by its strategic location as the NATO member controlling access to the Baltic.

Danish Navy ships carry the prefix KDM (Kongelige Danske Marine) in Danish, but this is translated to HDMS (Her / His Danish Majesty's Ship) in English. Denmark is one of several NATO member states whose navies do not deploy submarines.


  • History 1
    • Founding of the Danish navy 1.1
    • Copenhagenization and rebuilding 1.2
    • Interwar period and World War II 1.3
    • Cold war 1.4
    • Post-Cold war 1.5
  • Danish Navy organization 2
    • Navy Staff 2.1
    • The squadrons 2.2
    • Naval Operational Logistic Support 2.3
      • Naval bases 2.3.1
      • Naval stations 2.3.2
    • Special forces units 2.4
      • The Frogmen Corps 2.4.1
      • Sirius Arctic Patrol 2.4.2
    • Danish Task Group 2.5
    • The naval school structure 2.6
  • International operations 3
  • Vessels 4
  • Air service 5
    • Early years 5.1
    • Fighter aircraft 5.2
    • Attack aircraft 5.3
    • Helicopters 5.4
  • Ranks and insignia 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


The geographic layout of Denmark (not including Greenland and the Faroe Islands) has a Viking ships, usually of the Knarr type, were light, and therefore easy to transport from village to village over land. With time, the defence pacts gave rise to larger, more offensive fleets which the Vikings used for plundering coastal areas. In the period after the Vikings, and up to the 15th century, the fleet consisted mainly of merchant vessels. Indeed, it is said that king Valdemar Sejr had more than 1,000 ships during the conquest of Estonia in 1219. Together they carried more than 30,000 soldiers with horses and supplies.

Records exist of a unified Danish navy from the late 14th century. Queen Margaret I, who had just founded the Kalmar Union (consisting of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Shetland, Orkney, parts of Finland and parts of Germany) ordered the building of a navy — mainly to defend the union against the Hanseatic League. Earlier the national fleet had consisted of vessels owned and operated by the nobility, but the country as such did not have a navy. The earlier monarchs therefore had to rely on conscription from the nobility, which was not always easy as the monarchy itself often had enemies within the nobility. Queen Margaret I gave instructions for a navy to be constituted and maintained under the control of the monarchy. The nobility still had to provide crews (which consisted mainly of "volunteered" farmers) for these ships, though the core crew-members (i.e. masters, master-at-arms and master carpenters) could be employed by the monarch. There were also education officers, mainly levied from the nobility.

In the 15th century, especially during the reign of King Hans, Danish trade expanded appreciably, increasing the need for the delivery of merchandise. As shipping was the ideal means of transport at the time, Danish maritime interests had to be further protected. King Hans is credited with establishing a joint Dano-Norwegian fleet in 1509, substantially increasing the number of professional crewmembers. They were mainly petty criminals, who had to choose between working in the king’s navy or imprisonment. They received basic training in seamanship and carpentry, enabling them to sail the ships. Responsibility for weaponry and combat was still in the hands of conscripted farmers. For these, the country was divided into a number of counties — known in Danish as skipæn (the term skip being related to the Danish word for ship, skib), which would later serve as the Danish dioceses. It was also during this period that dedicated naval bases and shipyards were founded. They would build, maintain and fit out the king’s navy. The first record of a dedicated naval base is Bremerholmd (later Gammelholm) in the year 1500.

Founding of the Danish navy

The founding of the Danish navy is often viewed in Denmark as taking place on 10 August 1510, when King Hans appointed his vassal Henrik Krummedige to become "chief captain and head of all our captains, men and servants whom we now have appointed and ordered to be at sea." [8][9]

When King Frederick II was crowned in 1559, he immediately began expanding the navy. The number of bases, yards and vessels rose rapidly and substantial resources were used for new ship designs, weaponry, training and battle tactics. Sweden, which had become an independent country, dominated a large part of the Baltic Sea and threatened Danish merchant interests. In retaliation, Denmark closed the Øresund in 1568, laying the first seeds for the Scanian War (1675–1679), only eight years after the end of the second Nordic War (1657–1660), during which Denmark lost the now Swedish provinces of Skåne, Halland and Blekinge. During this period, further resources were allocated to the navy. Cort Adeler and Niels Juel led the Danish navy to a victory in the Battle of Køge Bay in 1667.

King Christian IV (crowned in 1588) continued in his father's footsteps. In the beginning of the 17th century, he considerably expanded the naval workships. In Copenhagen, where the navy resided, he built a large number of homes for crewmembers and workshop craftsmen — the most famous being Nyboder (completed in 1631) which still stands in central Copenhagen.

General admiral lieutenant Ulrik Christian Gyldenløve was appointed supreme commander of the navy in 1701. He raised the status of the naval profession and established Søkadetakademie, the predecessor of the Royal Danish Naval Academy. In 1709, Peter Jansen Wessel joined the navy. He was later given the rank of admiral as a reward for his many victories – most famously at Marstrand and Dynekilden. He was later known as Tordenskjold.

Dronning Juliane Marie
approx. 1750

In 1712, Tordenskjold succeeded in burning 80 Swedish naval cruisers, which played a large part in the outcome of the British, under pressure from the French in the Napoleonic Wars, became increasingly reluctant to allow Denmark to trade overseas as they believed Napoleon could benefit economically from Danish commerce. In 1801, they decided to attack a Danish line of defence, in the Battle of Copenhagen, under the command of Admiral Hyde Parker. The defence line, under the command of Olfert Fischer, was far smaller than the attacking force and was easily subdued. Denmark was therefore forced to make an agreement with the British. In the following six years, Denmark managed to stay clear of the Napoleonic Wars, until the events leading to the second Battle of Copenhagen in 1807. Britain was afraid that the Danish fleet might fall under the control of Napoleon, perhaps tipping the balance in his favour. King Christian VII refused to hand over his navy to the British for safekeeping until the end of the war, and the British attacked. After the battle, the Bombardment of Copenhagen (from 2 to 5 September) took place under Admiral Gambier. It is generally accepted as the first terror bombardment by a fleet,[10] in which the terrorising of civilians was used to gain a political goal.

In 1814, Denmark and Norway were separated relatively peacefully, after more than 300 years together. At the same time, the Common Fleet was split into the Royal Danish Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy.

The Danish submarine Havmanden circa World War One

The navy was slowly rebuilt, but it was nowhere near its former size. Faith was nevertheless placed in the navy, interests in Africa and the Caribbean still receiving considerable attention. In 1845, a two-year research expedition was launched on the corvette Galathea. In the Second Schleswig War (1864), the navy was still relatively small and old-fashioned. Only a few steam vessels were at hand and these had a large impact on the war. As a result, it was considered necessary for the navy to be modernised. By the outbreak of World War I (1914), the Danish navy was a very modern fleet, mainly equipped with armoured steam ships and only a very few sailing ships.

Interwar period and World War II

Ships scuttled by the Danish Navy on 29 August 1943

In the period between the two world wars, the Danish navy (as well as the rest of the Danish military forces) had low priority for the politicians, especially between 1929 and 1942 under Thorvald Stauning. During the first year of the German occupation (1940–1945), the navy assisted the occupying German forces with minesweeping, because of the political demand of keeping the infrastructure (ferry-lines) up and running. The tensions between the German soldiers and the Danish armed forces rose slowly and, on 29 August 1943, they managed to scuttle 32 of its larger ships, while Germany succeeded in seizing 14 of the larger and 50 of the smaller vessels. This was due to a secret order, given directly to the captains by word of mouth by commander of the navy, Vice Admiral A. H. Vedel "to try to flee to the nearest neutral or nazi-opposed port. If that was not possible, the ship should be scuttled at as deep a location as possible". The Germans later succeeded in raising and refitting 15 of the sunken ships. During the scuttling of the Danish fleet, a number of vessels were ordered to attempt an escape to Swedish waters; with 13 succeeding.[11][12] The score for the larger vessels was therefore: 32 vessels were sunk, 2 were in Greenland, 4 reached Sweden, 14 were captured by the Germans. As for the smaller vessels: 9 "patruljekuttere" reached Sweden, 50 others were captured by the Germans.[12] By the autumn of 1944, these ships officially formed a Danish naval flotilla in exile.[13] In September 1943, A. H. Vedel was fired by order of the prime minister Vilhelm Buhl because of his hostile actions towards the Germans. In November 1943, the Swedish authorities allowed 500 Danish soldiers in Sweden to train as "police troops". By the autumn of 1944, Sweden raised this number to 4,800 and recognised the entire unit as a Danish military brigade in exile.

Alouette III helicopters operated on Arctic Patrol Vessels (1962–1982)
Danish FAC Sehested (Willemoes-class)
Carrying Harpoon-missiles and FFV Type 613 21" torpedoes. Top-speed 45 kn (1972–2000)
Danish mobile missile battery (MOBA) for coastal defence equipped with Harpoon missiles (1990s–2003)
Støren (P555)
Flyvefisken-class (1989–current)

In the post-war years, Denmark joined NATO in 1949. As a result, Denmark received large amounts of material and financing through the Marshall Plan. Furthermore, several ships were purchased from the British and a number of vessels were transferred from the now disarmed German navy.

Cold war

During the Cold War, the Danish navy was rebuilt and modernised, with the main assignment being to repel an invasion from the Warsaw Pact. Typical operations requiring training were minelaying (the now disbanded minelayers of the Falster-class (17 kn, 2,000 GRT), were the world's largest minelayers at their time – each had a complement of 280 900 kg mines) and sting attacks with small but fast combat craft (such as the Søløven-class fast torpedo boats (54 kn, 158 GRT) and Willemoes-class missile torpedo boats (45 kn, 260 GRT) and a self-sustaining mobile missile battery (MOBA) equipped with targeting and guidance, capable of firing Harpoon missiles.[14] The Danish intelligence capabilities were also expanded and the Danish submarines trained for very shallow water operations, while a special naval force – the Danish Frogman Corps was created. The naval bases in Frederikshavn and Korsør plus the fortresses at Langeland and Stevns were created through NATO funds in the 1950s.

Post-Cold war

Since the end of the Cold War, the navy has been in a transitional phase, from local defence to global operations, with fewer but larger vessels able to operate for long periods at sea. It has also been more self-sustaining. Under the defence agreement (1995–1999) that initiated the process, several of the old "cold war" frigates and minesweepers were decommissioned. The squadron structure prior to this defence agreement was as follows:

  • 1st Squadron = The North Atlantic Squadron (Danish: 'InspektionsSkibsEskadren' (ISE)) with 5 ocean patrol vessels (1 Beskytteren-class, 4 Thetis-class), 3 ocean patrol cutters (Agdlek-class) and 4 icebreakers
  • 2nd Squadron = The Frigate Squadron (Danish: 'FreGatEskadren' (FGE)) with 2 frigates (Peder Skram-class), 3 corvettes (Niels Juel-class), 14 StanFlex-vessels (Flyvefisken-class) and 6 seaward defence craft (Daphne-class, decommissioned in 1991)
  • 3rd Squadron = The Mine Squadron (Danish: 'MineSkibsEskadren' (MSE)) with 4 minelayers (Falster-class), 2 cable-minelayers (Lindormen-class) and 7 minesweepers (Sund-class, decommissioned in 1999)
  • 4th Squadron = The Torpedo Boat Squadron (Danish: 'TorpedoBådsEskadren' (TBE)) with 13 torpedo-/missile boats (8 Willemoes-class, 5 Søløven-class), 2 oilers (Faxe-class) and a truck-detachment with missiles and radars called MOBA
  • 5th Squadron = The Submarine Squadron (Danish: 'UndervandsBådsEskadren' (UBE)) with 6 submarines (3 Tumleren-class, 3 Springeren-class) and the Frogmans Corps

In the defence agreement of 2000–2004, further restructuring of the navy was ordered, as well as the decommissioning of several units. Furthermore, the only unit of Beskytteren-class was donated to the Estonian Navy as Admiral Pitka (A230). With the decommissioning of the torpedo boats, the 4th squadron was disbanded and the remnants were transferred to the 2nd squadron. Other units were also decommissioned. The squadron structure now looked like this:

  • 1st Squadron with 4 ocean patrol vessels (Thetis-class), 3 ocean patrol cutters (Agdlek-class) and 3 icebreakers
  • 2nd Squadron with 3 corvettes (Niels Juel-class), 14 StanFlex-vessels (Flyvefisken-class), 2 oilers (Faxe-class) and a truck-detachment with missiles and radars called MOBA and a new truck-unit MLOG with shops, spare parts, mechanics, etc.
  • 3rd Squadron = The Mine Squadron (Danish: 'MineSkibsEskadren' (MSE)) with 4 minelayers (Falster-class) and 2 cable-minelayers (Lindormen-class)
  • 5th Squadron = The Submarine Squadron (Danish: 'UndervandsBådsEskadren' (UBE)) with 4 submarines (3 Tumleren-class, 1 Kronbrog-class – leased Swedish Näcken-class) and the Frogman Corps

On 1 January 2006, a major reorganisation was carried out as a part of the defence agreement of 2005–2009 (which also put an end to the 95-year-old submarine service, with no intention of developing future submarine capability), when the former four squadrons were divided into two squadrons:[15]

  • 1st Squadron – domestic affairs squadron
  • 2nd Squadron – foreign affairs squadron

Danish Navy organization

Major land facilities
Arctic Command is beyond the map

Navy Staff

The Navy Staff (in Danish Marinestaben), led by a Rear Admiral, is directly responsible to the Danish Defence Command. Since 2014, it has been placed at Karup Air Base.

The squadrons

The Danish fleet today is divided into two squadrons:

Naval Operational Logistic Support

Naval Base Frederikshavn

The Naval Operational Logistic Support Structure (OPLOG), including the naval bases in Frederikshavn and Korsør as well as several naval stations.

Naval bases

The naval bases' task is to provide logistic support for the ships and vessels, through the OPLOGs. This includes configuration, maintaining and repairing the units. Furthermore, similar support is provided to civilian agencies (i.e. the Danish police) and allied units like the United Nations

The support is mainly provided within the geographical areas of the naval bases. For Naval Base Korsør that is Zealand, Funen, Bornholm as well as the surrounding waters. For Naval Base Frederikshavn it is Jutland, Greenland and the Faroe Islands. Moreover, general support is provided for units participating in international operations in peacetime, as well as all units in crisis and wartime.

Naval stations

The navy maintains a number of naval stations. These are smaller stations with limited support functions. The best known is the publicly accessible Naval Station Holmen in Copenhagen. There are also naval stations located in Esbjerg, Kongsøre, on Møn, in Århus and Lyngsbæk.

Special forces units

A visit, board, search and seizure team, mainly composed of personnel from the Frogman Corps, entering USS Vella Gulf

The navy operates two special operation units.

The Frogmen Corps

The Frogmen Corps (Danish: Frømandskorpset) is an elite special force unit with the tasks of reconnaissance, assaulting enemy ships, hostage rescue, sabotage of fixed installations as well as anti-terrorism work with the police.

Sirius Arctic Patrol

The Sirius Arctic Patrol is a special forces unit and dog sled patrol conducting long-range reconnaissance (LRRP) and enforcing Danish sovereignty as well as representing Denmark's military presence in Greenland.

Danish Task Group

Danish Task Group is a unit tasked with commanding, educating and training maritime forces in peace, search and rescue, non-combatant evacuation operations, disaster relief operations, etc.) and commanding naval, aerial and land-based units. Danish Task Group was created to expand Denmarks level of competency and quality of material, by participating in international maritime operations. As such Danish Task Group has been commanding combined maritime forces in both exercises (such as BALTOPS and Joint Warrior) and operations (Combined Task Force 150 (2008) and -151 (2012)) a number of times.

The naval school structure

Runs three main schools, with five special schools:

  • Naval NCO and Basic Training School (Danish: Søværnets Sergent- og Grundskole (SSG)) near Frederikshavn
  • Danish naval academy (Danish: Søværnets Officersskole) at Holmen, Copenhagen
  • naval specialist schools (Danish: Søværnets specialskoler):
    • Naval Warfare School (Danish: Søværnets Taktikkursus (TAK)) at Naval Base Frederikshavn and Holmen, Copenhagen
    • Naval Weapons School (Danish: Søværnets Våbenkursus (VBK)) at Sjællands Odde
    • Naval Technical School (Danish: Søværnets Teknikkursus (TEK)) at Holmen, Copenhagen
    • Naval Damage Control School (Danish: Søværnets Havarikursus (SHK)) near Frederikshavn
    • Naval Diving School (Danish: Søværnets Dykkerkursus (SDK)) at Holmen, Copenhagen

International operations

US Coast Guard cutter Tiger Shark pulls alongside F359 Vædderen during a damage control exercise
The contemporary Danish navy, has participated in the following international operations:
Year Operation Participating units
1990–91 Operation Desert Shield F355 Olfert Fischer (Niels Juel-class)
1993–96 Operation Sharp Guard F354 Niels Juel (Niels Juel-class)
1999 Operation Allied Harvest N43 Lindormen (Lindormen-class)
29 November 2002 – 4 March 2003 Prestige Cleanup A561 Gunnar Seidenfaden (Gunnar Thorson-class)
2003 Operation Iraqi Freedom S323 Sælen (Tumleren-class), F355 Olfert Fischer (Niels Juel-class)
2006–08 United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) P557 Glenten, P560 Ravnen (Flyvefisken-class), F356 Peter Tordenskiold (Niels Juel-class)
2007 Standing NRF Maritime Group 1 F355 Olfert Fischer (Niels Juel-class)
2008 WFP protection force at the Horn of Africa F357 Thetis (Thetis-class)
2008 Task Force 150 Danish Task Group (flag) and L16 Absalon (flagship, Absalon-class)
2009 Flagship SNMCMG1 F357 Thetis (Thetis-class)
2009 Task Force 151 L16 Absalon (Absalon-class)
2010 Flagship SNMG1 L17 Esbern Snare & L16 Absalon (both Absalon-class)
2011–12 Operation Ocean Shield L16 Absalon (Absalon-class)[16]
2012 Task Force 150 Danish Task Group (flag)[17]


Vædderen (F359)

The Danish navy currently operates 12 larger vessels (displacement > 1,500 t(m)), 4 medium-size vessels (1,500 t(m) > displacement > 500 t(m)) and 38 small vessels (500 t(m) > displacement > 15 t(m)) as well as a number of rigid-hulled inflatable boats, boats etc.

The navy ship programs are generally of the "newer but fewer" type. Many of the vessels are of more recent dates (Absalon-class from 2004–2005, Thetis-class from 1991–1994 and Flyvefisken-class from 1986–1995) or under replacement, i.e. the corvettes of the Niels Juel-class (1978–1980) are under replacement with three new Ivar Huitfeldt-class Frigates currently under construction for 2nd Squadron and the Barsø-class (1969–1973) will be replaced with 6 Diana-class small patrol crafts. Finally two of the three Agdlek-class (1973–1979) will be replaced with the new Knud Rasmussen-class vessels.

In addition, the Royal Danish Navy and the German Navy are in cooperation in the "Ark Project". This agreement made the Ark Project responsible for the strategic sealift of Danish and German armed forces where the full-time charter of three roll-on-roll-off cargo and troop ships are ready for deployments. Furthermore, these ships are also kept available for the use of the other European NATO countries.[18]

Air service

Early years

Since 1912 the Royal Danish Navy has operated aircraft either as a functional part of the navy or as flights conducted by the Royal Danish Air Force. Aviation pioneer Robert Svendsen purchased the first aircraft, a Henry Farman, and gave it to the navy who subsequently named it Glenten (kite). Later the same year, a private funding effort made it possible to purchase two Donnet-Leveque flying boats named Maagen (gull) and Ternen (tern).

At the outbreak of World War One the navy had two operational flying boats and five educated pilots making it possible to make daily reconnaissance flights over the Sound, monitoring German mine-laying activities.

From 1914 to 1917, the Storebælt.

After the war the Danish production of aircraft was stopped due to several crashes and an international surplus of warplanes. Following British advice, five Avro 504 were purchased for training purposes and based in Ringsted between the two important straits.

Fighter aircraft

In 1925, three land-based Hawker fighter aircraft were purchased to be based in Ringsted. A modified version of the Hawker Woodcock, the Hawker DANKOK, was initially delivered from the UK while a following series of 12 aircraft were license-built by the Orlogsværft.

In 1928 the naval air service procures six Heinkel HE 8 floatplanes, with another 16 to be license-built by the Orlogsværft. As Germany were not allowed to produce military aircraft, the planes were labelled as mail planes, but they could easily be refitted with dual machine guns, radio equipment and a capacity for eight bombs.

The Heinkel had an unexpected arctic employment in the early 1930s when a dispute over East Greenland caused the first deployment of aircraft at Greenland along with three naval ships. Following the settlement of the dispute between Denmark and Norway the Heinkels were used in the efforts to map the frontiers of the island.[19]

In 1933, two Hawker Nimrod were acquired to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology of naval aircraft in the interwar period. A further ten planes were to be produced under licence at the Orlogsværft. The new aircraft made the air base in Ringsted inadequate and the naval air service were moved to the Avnø peninsula at southern Zealand.[20]

Attack aircraft

In 1932, the navy purchased its first offensive capacity, two Hawker Horsley torpedo bombers with an option to produce a following series on the Orlogsværft. After four years of testing and practice, the naval air service had agreed to expand the offensive capacities with the Horsley, but at this time funding from the Danish government had been cut and no further torpedo bombers were acquired.[20]

In the late 1930s the government changed plans and increased the budget for military purchases following the German expansions in central Europe. In 1938, 12 Fairey P. 4./34 were to be produced at Orlogsværftet along with 12 Italien Macchi MC-200 fighters. None of them were ever produced before the German invasion of Denmark at April 9, 1940.[20]


Lynx-helicopter while still in service in the Navy

Helicopters are deployed from the air force's 723rd squadron to Danish naval ships. When initiated in 1962, the naval helicopters consisted of a flight of Alouette helicopters of RDAF squadron 722.

Primarily for use on Thetis-class in operations in Greenland and Faroe Islands, but also on Absalon-class in international operations and Knud Rasmussen-class on Greenland as well as participating in exercises. The independent unit was established in 1977 as "Søværnets Flyvetjeneste" operating (Aérospatiale Alouette III (1977–1982) and Westland Lynx (1980–present) helicopters. On December 6, 2012, the Danish navy officially ordered nine MH-60R Seahawk helicopters, with all to be delivered by 2018,[21] following a competition on the procurement involving the NH90, AgustaWestlands AW159 Wildcat and the AW101 along with Sikorsky's other bid H-92 Superhawk.[22]

Ranks and insignia

The Danish navy ranks follows the NATO system of ranks and insignia, as does the rest of the Danish armed forces.

The highest officer's rank is OF-9 (Admiral) which is reserved for the Chief of Defence (only when this seat is occupied by a naval officer) and the Prince Consort of Denmark (à la suite). Similarly, OF-8 (Vice-admiral) is reserved for the Defence Chief of Staff). OF-7 (Kontreadmiral) is used by the Navy Staff and OF-6 (Flotilleadmiral) by the chief of Danish Task Group as well as keepers of high-office positions. OF-4 and OF-5 are mainly chiefs of squadrons, schools and larger vessels. OF-1 through OF-3 are used in a variety of positions.

The Danish OR's also follow the NATO system, though there are no OR-6's and OR-4's (korporal) are only used in international missions.

Outside this ranking system there are physicians (who may wear the same insignia in the Army/Air Force but with a slight variation in the Navy), nurses and veterinarians, while priests and judicial personnel wear totally different insignia and are without rank.

Besides the NATO-system, the Danish defence utilizes its own system, which for the navy is as follows:

  • Military personnel, level 400 (M400): Executive level: OF-5 though OF-9
  • Military personnel, level 300 (M300): Operational level: OF-1 through OF-4
  • Military personnel, level 200 (M200): NCO level: OR-4 through OR-9
  • Military personnel, level 100 (M100): Seamen level: OR-1 through OR-3


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Ny Forsvarschef 20-03-2012 in Danish
  5. ^ organizational chart
  6. ^ Organisation of the Defence Command
  7. ^
  8. ^ Mikael Bill, Pernille Kroer, Niels Mejdal, Leif Mortensen, "Danmarks Flåde i 500 år", specialavis udgivet af Soværnets Operative Kommando i samarbejde med Danmarks Marineforening, 4 June 2010. (Danish)
  9. ^ "Den danske flåde 1510–2010" (Danish) Retrieved 5 June 2010.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ a b
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Denmark has taken command of CTF 151 (in Danish)
  18. ^ [1] Archived February 19, 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^
  20. ^ a b c
  21. ^ Denmark Signs Letter of Offer and Acceptance for Nine MH-60R Seahawk Helicopters –, December 6, 2012
  22. ^

External links

  • (Danish) (English) Official website
  • (Danish) (English) Flådens Historie – Danish Naval History
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