Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock HNLMS Johan de Witt has left the Damen Naval shipyard in Vlissingen-Oost. Over the past 13 months, the amphibious transport ship has undergone a comprehensive Midlife Update (MLU) in conjunction with the third period of Appointed Maintenance (BO3). Despite the tight schedule and several challenges, the ship was handed over to the Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) on Friday 31 March on schedule. The ship will now be towed to Den Helder, where the Naval Maintenance and Sustainment Agency, together with Damen Naval, will carry out some additional work. The MLU/BO3 was a joint project between Damen Naval and Damen Shiprepair Vlissingen (DSV). The companies share a shipyard in Vlissingen-Oost, where the Johan de Witt arrived on 3 March 2022. In July 2022, the ship was moved to DSV’s dry dock for, among other things, conservation work on the underwater hull, superstructure, and all tanks.
“We are extremely proud, together with Defence, to have been able to complete this complex project as planned. We have worked extremely hard over the past year and the result exceeds our expectations. Our company has had a close relationship with the Royal Netherlands Navy since 1905 and this project is the most recent example of the excellent cooperation between Damen Naval and the DMO, the Naval Maintenance and Sustainment Agency (DMI) and the crew of the Johan de Witt. HNLMS Johan de Witt is a maritime all-rounder and one of the finest ships we have had the pleasure of building for the Royal Netherlands Navy. It is therefore extra special to have her back in Vlissingen 15 years after delivery for this MLU/BO3. With the maintenance and upgrades the LPD has now had, the ship is all set to be able to her job for the next 15 years,” said Damen Naval’s Project Director Fer Tummers.
In November 2022, the Johan de Witt left the dry dock ahead of schedule and work continued quayside. There were 69 MLU items planned, including refurbishment or replacement of equipment such as armament and communication systems, freshwater production (RO units), seawater pumps for firefighting and cooling, and more. The bridge, joint operations room, command, and engineering centre were completely refurbished, and the masts were also rebuilt. Over 60 km of new cables were pulled, and new decking installed. Medical facilities on board, such as the operating room, IC beds and nursing room, were completely modernised. HNLMS Johan de Witt is the second Landing Platform Dock that Damen Naval has built for the Royal Netherlands Navy. Construction of the 176.35-metre vessel began in 2003 at the Damen Naval shipyard in Romania, and in 2004 the hull was towed to Vlissingen, where it was further completed. Completion and commissioning followed in 2007.
HNLMS Johan de Witt is the second Landing Platform Dock (LPD) amphibious warfare ship of the Royal Netherlands Navy. It is an improved design of Rotterdam, which was designed in conjunction between the Netherlands and Spain. The ship, displacing 16,800 tons, was launched on 13 May 2006. The ship is equipped with a large helicopter deck for helicopter operations and a dock for large landing craft. It can carry six NH 90 helicopters or four Chinook helicopters. It has a well dock for two landing craft utility and it carries four davit-launched LCVPs. The vessel has an extra deck with rooms for command staff to support a battalion size operation. The ship has a complete Role II hospital, including an operating theatre and intensive care facilities. A surgical team can be stationed on board. The ship also has a desalination system enabling it to convert seawater into drinking water. It is equipped with pod propulsion enabling the ship to use dynamic positioning while sea basing.