4 Jul 2023

Damen Naval contracts RH Marine for new Anti-Submarine Warfare Frigates

Damen Naval has signed a contract with the first Dutch supplier for the new Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Frigates.

Netherlands-based RH Marine will supply the Integrated Mission Management System (IMMS), the Integrated Navigation Bridge System (INBS) and the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) for each of the four frigates for the Dutch and Belgian Navies. The announcement of the cooperation follows the official contract signing last week between the Dutch Ministry of Defence and Damen for the design, construction, and delivery of the new frigates.

"One of our objectives is that we want to share the enormous knowledge accumulation we gain from this kind of high-quality, launching customer project with as many Dutch suppliers as possible. This way, the Netherlands maintains its place in the world's top tier of complex naval construction and strengthens our position within existing and new European partnerships," explains Damen Naval's Managing Director Roland Briene. "This contract with RH Marine is an excellent example of that. We have been working closely together for many years and once again I am looking forward to a great project with a wonderful end result."

The systems supplied by RH Marine are based on the latest cybersecurity, network, and data centre technology, on which RH Marine's next-generation platform automation, bridge and mission management applications will run. The systems will allow the ship to operate with a smaller crew, with a much higher and smarter degree of automation supporting them.

 "As a company, we are immensely proud of our contribution to the ASWF project," said Hugo Loudon, Managing Director RH Marine. "Over the past few years, in an excellent collaboration between COMMIT, Damen and RH Marine, an innovative foundation has been established for automation in relation to the manning and operations concept. This will form the blueprint for the ships of the future of the Dutch and Belgian navies."

RH Marine Managing Director Hugo Loudon (left) and Damen Naval Managing Director Roland Briene sign the agreement.

The new frigates will be deployable for multiple tasks, although the emphasis will be on anti-submarine warfare. The vessels will be equipped with a comprehensive suite of sensors to detect submarines. The technology used will create a fast, robust, and easily maintainable system that lends itself extremely well to further growth and continuous improvement.

RH Marine’s IPMS system uses Industrial Internet Of Things (IIoT) connectivity, which gives the platform flexibility in connection and configurability. This connectivity also provides the ability to store huge amounts of data from connected systems and sensors. Analysis of these data can be used to improve operational processes and support predictive maintenance.

The ASW frigates are the replacements for the current Karel Doorman-class of multipurpose frigates built between 1985 and 1991 by Damen Naval (then the Koninklijke Maatschappij de Schelde). Eight M-class frigates were delivered, of which six were eventually sold to other countries, including two to Belgium. With the end of the service life of these ships in sight, the Netherlands and Belgium decided to jointly replace the ships with these ASW frigates. The first ship is scheduled to be delivered by Damen Naval in 2028.