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Contract signed for construction of new Dutch Navy supply ship Den Helder

HNLMS Den Helder Damen
Artist's rendering of the future HNLMS Den Helder. Photo: Damen

The Dutch defense procurement agency (DMO) has signed an official contract for the construction of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s new support ship, the future HNLMS Den Helder, with shipbuilder Damen.

It was noted that the contract would provide work for over a hundred, mostly Dutch, companies.

The new ship will operate alongside the joint support ship HNLMS Karel Doorman and will restore the navy’s maritime supply capacity. It addition to supply tasks, it will be capable of supporting the fight against drug trafficking, controlling refugee flows and providing emergency aid.

The 200-meter Den Helder will receive a 75-person crew and will have capacity to take 75 extra people on board. There is room for several helicopters and around 20 containers. The design explicitly looked at fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. The combination of diesel engines, hull shape and propeller design reduces fuel consumption by around 6 percent compared to HNLMS Karel Doorman.

The building contract was not contracted out elsewhere in Europe. The country’s defense procurement agency wanted to keep the knowledge and skills of designing and building naval ships in the Netherlands. The armed forces thus invoked Article 346 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which states that member states may protect essential security interests.

HNLMS Den Helder is scheduled for delivery in the second quarter of 2024. An operational capability is expected to be achieved a year later, in the second quarter of 2025. The total budget allocated to the project is 375 million euros.