Royal Netherlands Navy Combat Support Ship Den Helder
Royal Netherlands Navy Combat Support Ship Den Helder

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding to Build Royal Netherlands Navy Combat Support Ship Den Helder

Just over six months since the keel-laying of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Combat Support Ship (CSS) at its yard in Galati, Romania, and Damen Naval is pleased to report that construction of the 179-metre long vessel is on track. Damen’s design for the CSS consists of a total of 178 different sections. The construction drawings of 116 sections have been finalized, 80 sections have already been fabricated at the yard, and 22 are currently under construction, together representing a total amount of cut steel of 6,600 tonnes. The construction of the sections is taking place at the same time as the installation of some equipment. This equipment includes small items – for example, more than 8,400 pieces of pipework have been fitted into the finished sections – as well as larger items. In fact, last month saw the placing of the heaviest items of equipment: four Wärtsilä 31 diesel generators. The selection of this generator by Damen Naval and the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) was based on the ambition to ensure that the CSS is as efficient as possible in terms of fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.

With that in mind, the Wärtsilä 31 will go a long way in achieving that goal. It is equipped with a selective catalytic reduction unit that will ensure that the CSS is compliant with IMO Tier III regulations concerning NOx emissions. It displays optimum fuel efficiency across its entire operating range and has even been recognised by Guinness World Records as ‘the world’s most efficient four-stroke diesel’. Combined with the hull shape and propeller design, the Wärtsilä 31 will reduce the CSS’s fuel consumption by about 6 per cent. Throughout the CSS project, Damen Naval has been keen to note that the construction of this naval vessel is a collaborative effort between DMO, Damen Naval and a large number of Dutch subcontractor companies. To date, 133 such supplier contracts have been awarded. 98 of these contracts, with a total value exceeding EUR 110 million, bring in the involvement of Dutch maritime companies.

The selection of Wärtsilä 31 diesel generators was based on the ambition to ensure that the CSS is as efficient as possible in terms of fuel consumption and exhaust emissions

Den Helder is the new combat support ship (CSS) being built by Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding to support multiple naval missions of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN). The CSS will be the first RNLN ship to be named after the city which is home to the Netherlands’ main naval base. With the CSS, the maritime supply capacity of the Royal Netherlands Navy will be restored. The ship will operate alongside the Joint Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman. 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. The almost 200-meter-long ship will have a 75-person crew and can also take an additional 75 people on board. There is room for several helicopters and around twenty containers.

After the so-called D-letter announcing the procurement decision for the Combat Support Ship was submitted to the Dutch Parliament in December 2019, the construction contract was signed with Damen on February 19th, 2020. Engineering of the vessel takes place mostly in the Netherlands and a large number of components will be delivered by Dutch suppliers.The CSS is built by Damen in Romania, after which the ship’s final components and the combat management system will be installed in Den Helder. On December 2nd, 2020, first steel was cut, marking an important milestone, the first tangible part of the construction of the CSS. The next milestone will be in May 2021, when the keel-laying ceremony will take place. 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.