SHAH ALAM: The Portuguese Navy has contracted Damen Shipyards Group for the design, construction and outfitting of a multi-purpose vessel (MPV), it was announced on November 24. The MPV is a helicopter landing ship (LHD) but it is not amphibious assault ship as it does not have a well deck.
According to Damen, the ship will be 107 metre long though it does not reveal the tonnage of the ship. Damen smallest Enforcer landing platform dock, marketed now, is about 120 metres long, has a tonnage of 9,000 tonnes. Apart from this, we also do not know the cost of the ship.
The MPV is interesting design for the RMN own MRSS requirements, as it is not equipped with a well deck. An MRSS without a well deck will be cheaper to operate and maintain, I believed. Of course, we also do not need the helicopter deck style of the MPV.
That said, in early 2000 or so, the South Korean proposed that RMN procured the Dokdo class LPH which was over the top of course. There was also proposal for the RMN to get a Mistral class LPH or even mini version of the LPH (the design was never revealed though). Both class of LPH are also equipped with a well deck.
The release from Damen:
Portuguese Navy signs contract with Damen Shipyards for innovative Multi-Purpose Vessel
The Portuguese Navy has contracted Damen Shipyards Group for the design, construction and outfitting of a state-of-the-art Multi-Purpose Vessel. The contract was signed by Director of Ships Rear Admiral Jorge Pires and Damen Shipyards Group CCO Jan Wim Dekker. The project follows a European tender process and is funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) that is part of Next Generation EU (the economic recovery package to support EU member states affected by the COVID-19 pandemic).
Damen has developed this 107-metre long Multi-Purpose Vessel based on the specific requirements of the Portuguese Navy. The resulting design is truly a multi-purpose platform, with primary mission roles including oceanic research, search and rescue, and emergency relief in addition to maritime safety and naval support operations. To this end, the vessel will be capable of deploying unmanned drones and helicopters.
For the oceanic research and monitoring scope of operations, the vessel will be equipped with laboratories and accommodation for scientific staff. For the naval support aspect, the Damen-built vessel will have numerous design features to enable such operations. This will comprise a stern ramp for UUVs and USVs (Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and Unmanned Surface Vehicles) as well as a 94×11-metre flight deck and hangars for UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles).
The new vessel will be classified by the Portuguese Navy as a Multifunctional Naval Platform (PNM). To fully match this vessel designation, Damen has collaborated closely with the Portuguese Navy to incorporate future-versatility into the design. This consists of a 650m2 cargo deck and space for twelve 20-foot containers. Modular systems such as containerised hospital facilities, hyperbaric chambers, or ROV equipment can therefore be installed as required.
“We are proud to have been selected to build this spectacular vessel for the Portuguese Navy,” Damen Shipyards Group CEO 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. This vessel’s multi-purpose functionality will enable the Portuguese Navy to develop the most demanding missions and at the same time the ability to perform research activities in the deepest areas of the ocean. It also underlines Damen’s firm relationship with the Portuguese Navy and shows a further example of European defence industry cooperation.”
It must be noted that the RMN MRSS requirements in recent times must have included a well deck as the ships that had been proposed for it – including a version of the Damen Enforcer and the PT PAL ones – are all equipped with them.
If we get the money, we could get Damen to modify the MPV with the Enforcer style superstructure, again without a well deck.
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