The Dutch Defence Material Organization (DMO) signed a contract with Damen Shipyards Group for the construction of Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN)’s new Combat Support Ship HNLMS Den Helder (A834).
The contract was signed on Feb. 19 in Den Helder by the Director of Defence Material Organization (DMO), Vice Admiral Arie Jan de Waard and Arnout Damen, the CEO of the Damen Shipyards Group.
The milestone came after the Dutch Cabinet has submitted a so-called D-letter to the Parliament, to begin the construction of the vessel on Dec. 19 last year.
Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) will supervise the project, together with DMO, as the main contractor. The company will be supported by more than a hundred companies from the Dutch naval construction sector. For the project, the Netherlands has invoked Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union which states that the Member States may protect essential security interests. Due to this the building contract is not contracted out elsewhere in Europe.
HNLMS Den Helder will be the first Dutch Navy ship to be named after the city which is home to their main naval base. She will operate alongside the Joint Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman (A833), on which the design of the new vessel is based.
The supply ship, which is almost 200 metres long, will receive a 75-person crew and can also take 75 extra people on board. There is room for several helicopters and around 20 containers. The vessel will also carry two rigid-hulled inflatable boats (RHIB) on board for boarding, rescue operations and passenger transport and two FRISC (Fast Raiding, Interception and Special forces Craft) interceptor boats.
The design explicitly looked at fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. The combination of diesel engines, hull shape and propeller design reduces fuel consumption by around 6 % compared to HNLMS Karel Doorman.
Completion is scheduled for the second quarter of 2024. A year later, in the second quarter of 2025, the Combat Support Ship must be operable. The size of the total project budget is 375 million euros.
The new ship can be used worldwide and can operate under high threat, protected by frigates. In addition, she can be used in the fight against drug trafficking, controlling refugee flows and providing emergency aid.