The Netherlands' Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) has contracted Damen Shipyards Group for the construction of a new combat support ship (CSS) for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN).
To be named HNLMS Den Helder , the new vessel will restore the dedicated afloat support capability lost when the replenishment vessel HNLMS Amsterdam was decommissioned as a savings measure in December 2014.
The contract was signed by the DMO and Damen on 19 February, and calls for delivery in the second quarter of 2024. Following trials and work up, Den Helder is expected to achieve operational status with the RNLN in the second quarter of 2025.
The design of Den Helder is derived from that of the RNLN's joint support ship HNLMS Karel Doorman . Approaching 200 m in length and displacing 22,000 tonnes at full load, the new ship will have a crew of 75, plus accommodation for an additional 75 people on board. Two replenishment-at-sea stations will be fitted for the transfer of fuel, dry stores and ammunition, and there will be space to carry approximately 20 containers as deck cargo.
A flight deck and hangar facility provide for the operation and support of rotary-wing aircraft. Two rigid-hull inflatable boats will be carried for boarding and rescue operations and passengers. There will also be provision to carry two 9.5 m FRISC (Fast Raiding, Interception and Special forces Craft) interceptors.
A diesel-electric propulsion system is specified, with twin shafts each driving fixed pitch propellers. Maximum speed will be over 18 kt.
The design process has paid close attention to reducing fuel consumption and exhaust emissions (to meet IMO Tier III regulations on nitrogen oxide emissions). According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the combination of propulsion system, hull shape and propeller design reduces fuel consumption by around 6% compared to Karel Doorman .
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