Impressive amount of steel for Combat Support Ship

The puzzle of the Combat Support Ship (CSS), the first ship Damen will build for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) in ten years, is starting to take shape. After the keel laying on June 2 this year, the construction of sections and blocks is progressing steadily. Although the contours of the complete ship are not yet really visible, many pieces of the puzzle are ready for assembly. That is why it was time for the project leaders of both Damen Naval and the Defence Materiel Organization (DMO) to visit the yard.

Both saw an impressive amount of steel there, during their tour of the yard. Almost two thirds of all the drawing work of the subsections are ready. This means that the first 6,200 of a total of 7,500 tons of steel to be processed are on paper. In total 5,600 gross tons of steel have been cut and 54 of the 178 sections are ready. Those sections are currently being supplied with the pipework, of which 6,724 pieces have already been manufactured. The construction of the 180 metres long and 26 metres wide CSS is therefore well on schedule.

The final assembly of the supply ship is a well thought out process where nothing is left to chance. For example, module 1 (the rear of the ship) will be built on blocks in a dry part of a dock. Modules 2 and 3 will then be sailed sideways off the ramp as one unit to the dock and secured to the first module. Subsequently, module 4 (the fore of the CSS) will be added, followed by the installation of module 5: the front part of the super structure of the ship with the bridge. Modules 1 to 4 together form the hull of the ship.

Finally, around October next year, after placing the propulsion train (axles/outriggers and rudders), the ship will float up and be completed in the deeper wet part of the dock. This happens when the remaining part of the imposing super structure is placed with the mast (module 6). After that job, CSS Den Helder will leave the dock and the ship will be further outfitted at the outfitting quay there. After that, all systems are put into operation and tested. Until then, the project leaders will undoubtedly visit more often to take a closer look at the progress of the construction.

Arjan Risseeuw, Project Director CSS Damen Naval and Capt (N) Glijn van Marion, Defence Materiel Organisation
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