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Sunday, May 21st 2017, 10:42am

The new light cruiser Westdiep could easily provide AA support and close-range protection from surface threats. The carrier would act as back up for the six Spa Class escorts, it could form an ASW hunting group with a light cruiser and four escorts. Of course such a vessel implies either implies a strategy of forming a specific ASW support unit to assist the Dutch in times of war or a more expansive policy beyond the confines of the North Sea. Just think if those gyrocopters carried men instead of depth-charges, a means for the Belgians to insert troops ashore in peacekeeping missions etc. It's a far more flexible unit than a submarine and has pride and power in flag showing exercises.

One could ask what was the rationale for the King Albert? The Belgian Navy has never done rational very well and I see no reason why a little madness shouldn't creep in now and then. One failing of WW lately is that's been too rational in ship design at times, I miss some of the crazy ideas we had in the old days.
Belgium wants to flex its industrial power more, its one of the most industrialised nations in Europe yet had very little global presence beyond trade. Flag showing is one way to remind the world, it wasn't long ago the Germans stuffed a carrier full of industrial and military goodies on a sales tour, Belgium could quite easily do the same with this vessel, a floating Cockerill and FN-Browning showroom, one can almost hear their shareholders signing those petitions to get this ship built!