Combat Support Ship

Den Helder

Den Helder is the new combat support ship (CSS) being built by Damen Naval 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.

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Roles and Capabilities

With the CSS, the maritime supply capacity of the RNLN 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. Den Helder is scheduled to be delivered in 2024.

Celebrating Construction Milestones

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. In December 2020, first steel was cut, marking an important milestone, the first tangible part of the construction of the vessel. The next milestone followed in May 2021, when the keel-laying ceremony took place. Den Helder is scheduled to be delivered to the Netherlands’ Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) in 2024. A year later, the vessel must be operable and will be transferred by the DMO to the RNLN.

Innovative Building Strategy

The final assembly of the new supply ship is a thoroughly thought-out process in which nothing is left to chance. For example, module 1 (the rear of the ship) will be built on blocks in a dry part of a dock. Modules 2 and 3 will, after being moved sideways off the slipway, then be sailed as one unit to the dock and attached to module 1. Module 4 (the front of the CSS) will then be added, followed by the installation of module 5: the front part of the ship’s superstructure, which includes the bridge. Finally, the ship will be floated and completed in the deeper ‘wet’ part of the dock. This will involve the installation of the imposing superstructure with the mast (module 6).

Boost for the Dutch Naval Construction Sector

Damen, as main contractor, supervises the project together with the DMO. Damen will not do this alone; more than a hundred companies from the Dutch maritime sector are expected to be involved in this. This means that a large part of the sector will be deployed to participate in this innovative new ship. Up to October 2021, around one hundred contracts were awarded to Dutch maritime suppliers for the CSS, with a cumulative contract value exceeding 110 million euro.

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