Damen Shipyards Group, in collaboration with the Portuguese Navy, announced on 27 February the launch of a new ship design intended to meet modern defence and security demands.

From the outset, the Multi-Purpose Support Ship (MPSS) has been designed to accommodate drone technology for combat and surveillance operations. Beyond its primary military function, the MPSS is versatile enough to support a variety of auxiliary tasks.

The two MPSS models. Image courtesy of Damen.

Construction on the inaugural vessel has already begun, according to a release from Damen. The MPSS series offers two models, with weights of either 7000 and 9000 tonnes, in line with requirements from the Portuguese Navy.

Damen emphasised that the project is operating towards swift and cost-effective process for the production of the vessels.

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Piet van Rooij, commercial manager of Damen’s Defence and Security department, highlighted the MPSS range’s strategic importance in addressing the evolving role of drone technology in defence while emphasising its multipurpose functionality. He said that the design leverages cost-effective, commercially available technologies to deliver a reliable platform that promises significant operational flexibility and value. 

The MPSS incorporates commercially available technology alongside military-grade electrical, communication, and navigation systems. It has multifunctional capabilities and has been designed with further adaptability in mind to serve a broad spectrum of missions, such as drone management, amphibious support, disaster relief, search and rescue operations, diving and submarine rescue missions, and helicopter operations.

The use of modular technology facilitates year-round operation and maintenance for the MPSS series and extends the vessels’ operational capacity to at least 45 days at sea.

The MPSS 7000, measuring 107 by 20 metres, is designed to be operated by a crew of 48, with additional capacity for up to 100 special personnel and temporary accommodation for 42 personnel in scenarios such as disaster relief missions. The larger MPSS 9000, at 130 by 20 metres, can undertake a wider array of operations.