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Damen awarded contract for Portuguese Navy's new multi-purpose vessel

The new multi-purpose vessel, which will be named D João II , is planned to enter service in the second half of 2026. (Damen)

Damen Shipyards Group has been awarded a contract for the design, construction, and outfitting of a new multi-purpose vessel for the Portuguese Navy.

Announcing the contract award on 24 November, Damen said the 107 m-long vessel had been designed to meet the Portuguese Navy's requirement for a platform that combined oceanic research with unmanned systems deployment capabilities.

The new vessel, which will be named D João II, is planned to enter service in the second half of 2026.

The project follows a European tender process and has received funding from the European Union's (EU's) Recovery and Resilience Plan (PRR), which is part of NextGenerationEU, the economic recovery package to support EU member states affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. PRR funding for the project is valued at EUR94.5 million (USD103.8 million), with state investment amounting to EUR37.5 million.

The multi-purpose vessel will be used primarily for oceanic research, search-and-rescue, and emergency relief, with a secondary role for naval support and maritime security operations.

The ship will carry a crew complement of 48, with additional accommodation for 42 scientists and unmanned systems operators. In addition, temporary accommodation can be provided for a further 100 personnel.

For the oceanic and monitoring scope of operations the ship will also be equipped with scientific laboratories.

For naval operations the design includes a large 94 × 11 m flight deck and hangars for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters, and a stern ramp to deploy unmanned underwater vessels (UUVs) and unmanned surface vessels (USVs).

The vessel also features a large 650 m2

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