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Global shipbuilder begins construction on new multi-purpose support ship

Co-developed with the Portuguese Navy, Dutch shipbuilder Damen has begun construction on its new multi-purpose support ship, highlighting its combat and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drone compatibility.

Co-developed with the Portuguese Navy, Dutch shipbuilder Damen has begun construction on its new multi-purpose support ship, highlighting its combat and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drone compatibility.

Damen has revealed that its new multi-purpose support ship (MPSS) is compatible with a range of military and constabulary taskings, including air, sea and sub-sea drone management, amphibious support, disaster relief, search and rescue, diving support, submarine rescue operations and helicopter operations.

It has been billed as a cost-effective platform that can be constructed in a short time frame, drawing from a range of commercial off-the-shelf options for onboard capabilities while the shipbuilding process will rely on standardised and modular construction.

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The Portuguese Navy contracted Damen for the construction of a multi-purpose vessel in November.

The 107-metre-long multi-purpose vessel (MPV) will be designed, constructed, and outfitted by the Dutch defence, shipbuilding and engineering conglomerate company after a contract was signed between Director of Ships Rear Admiral Jorge Pires and Damen Shipyards Group chief commercial officer Jan-Wim Dekker.

The project follows a European tender process and is funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility as part of the NextGenerationEU economic recovery package.

The MPV is expected to feature a 94-metre by 11-metre flight deck and hangars for unmanned aerial vehicle deployment, helicopter deployment, oceanic research, search and rescue, emergency relief, maritime safety and naval support operations.

It will also feature laboratories and accommodation for scientific staff, a stern ramp for UUVs and USVs, a 650-square metre cargo deck, and space for 12 20-foot containers.

Additional modular systems could reportedly involve containerised hospital facilities, hyperbaric chambers or remotely operated vehicle equipment, as required.

“We are proud to have been selected to build this spectacular vessel for the Portuguese Navy,” Damen Shipyards Group chief executive officer Arnout Damen said after the contract signing ceremony.

“We are convinced that this vessel will represent a major milestone in the naval sector. It is the first of its kind, with the highest capabilities to create awareness, deploy and manage all types of drones.

The shipbuilder has explained that the ship can remain at sea for 45 days.

The ship will come in 7,000 and 9,000-tonne versions, with the MPSS 7000 measuring 107 x 20 metres and the MPSS 9000 measuring 130 x 20 metres.

The MPSS 7000 requires a crew of 48, though can house an additional 100 personnel and 42 individuals in temporary accommodation.

The shipbuilder has commenced construction of the first vessel.

“The MPSS range is a response to the increasing use of drone technology that we see in modern combat and surveillance situations,” Piet van Roojj, commercial manager of Damen’s Defence and Security department said.

“We could see that such capabilities would be of growing importance for countries looking to sustain their sovereignty.

“At the same time, this is a multi-purpose vessel that can be applied to wide range of additional operations, thereby offering value for taxpayer’s money.

“This theme is further developed using commercial off the shelf technology, which ensure the cost-effective construction of a reliable platform. We’re very much looking forward to showcasing this new vessel, including at exhibitions, in the coming months.”

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