Netherlands Navy to get hybrid support ship

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The Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNN) latest combat support ships (CSS) will utilize a hybrid propulsion system provided by General Electric’s (GE) Power Conversion arm. According to the company, its technology was selected for its low noise signature, high level of reliability and commonality with equipment on the RNN’s existing joint support ship (HNLMS Karel Doorman).

With a key concern for naval ships being underwater radiated noise, strict noise and vibration levels were imposed on the propulsion system. To meet these demands, GE states that the use of pulse width modulation (PWM) voltage source inverters feed robust, high-torque density induction motors, help to reduce the acoustic signature of the vessel.

The company’s scope of supply also includes the main switchboards for the ship’s electrical distribution system, consisting of two shore connection cubicles, the main electric propulsion system with two shaft lines of 7.9MW each, as well as the associated power management and remote-control systems. The ship’s energy management system, which controls power generation and distribution systems, will also be supplied by GE.

By utilizing an existing vessel design, that of the joint support ship (JSS) already in operation with the Royal Netherlands Navy, GE and shipyard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) say they will be able to deliver the ship in June 2024. The CSS will be built by Damen in Romania, after which the ship’s combat management system – among others – will be installed in Den Helder, Netherlands. The engineering of the vessel will largely take place in the Netherlands, with a large number of systems and components being delivered by Dutch suppliers.

Once built, the CSS vessel will supplement the existing JSS, HNLMS Karel Doorman. The CSS, thanks to its 180m length, will accommodate 75 crew members with capacity for an additional 85 persons onboard. It will have the capacity to carry two helicopters and up to 25 containers, meaning it will be able to support extended maritime operations, both nationally and internationally.

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