The keel of the future HMNLS Karel Doorman was laid down at Damen’s Galatz shipyard on 7 June. At almost 28,000 tonnes, the Joint Logistic Support Ship will become the Koninklijke Marine’s largest ever ship when she enters service in 2015. As with earlier projects, the hull will be built at the Romanian facility under the supervision of Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) and transferred to Vlissingen for outfitting and sea trials.
Although very much resembling the navy’s two versatile LPDs, and with a similar dock capability, the JLSS is an auxiliary vessel primarily designed to provide the navy and NATO with strategic sealift and logistic support. Based on the successful DSNS Enforcer series, Karel Doorman will also be equipped with two Replenishment-at-Sea stations, a 40-tonne crane and stores elevator system and a ro-ro facility with 2,000 lane metres. With a flight deck large enough for two Chinook-size helicopters and a hangar for six NH-90 helicopters, the ship will be the navy’s most valuable asset.
As such, Karel Doorman will have an extensive self-defence suite of weapons that includes two 30mm Goalkeeper CIWS, two remotely-operated Oto Melara 30mm guns and four automatic medium-calibre guns.