Damen Shipyard Group has introduced a new range of naval multi-role auxiliary vessels (MRAV) at the Oceanographic Survey Vessel Conference held in London.

The new series of vessels have been designed to offer reliable and cost-effective multi-role and hydrographic survey capabilities.

Damen Shipyards Gorinchem principal naval advisor Jan van der Burg said: "The idea behind these vessels is to create a basic platform that can assist in a variety of tasks through the selection of the required mission configuration, e.g. coastal transport, submarine support or coastal infantry operations.

"The key points are to maximise displacement, minimise resistance and optimise seakeeping characteristics for the area in which the ship will operate."

"The stimulus to switch from the traditional one-to-one replacement is to lower the total cost of ownership without losing capability and capacity."

The new vessels will be available in three designs, MRAV 660, MRAV 1600 and MRAV 3600, and are 43m, 62m and 85m-long respectively.

Equipped with supplementary modular mission equipment, the new vessels can be deployed for littoral, naval tasks such as explosive ordnance clearance and disposal, diving operations, torpedo recovery and overhaul, remotely operated underwater vehicle and unmanned aerial vehicle deployment, search-and-rescue (SAR), coastal infantry, and submarine support.

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The MRAV 660 design has a 1.9m draught and has the capacity for a core crew of eight, and for an additional 15 specialists.

Damen Design and Proposal engineer Tim Viveen said: "The key points are to maximise displacement, minimise resistance and optimise seakeeping characteristics for the area in which the ship will operate.

"The MRAV 660 has design characteristics that help achieve this: an aluminium superstructure and reduced freeboard section cut down on weight. And tunnel ducts on the underside of the hull ensure enough water reaches the propellers."

The MRAV 1600 is a medium-sized vessel that can be manned by a core crew of 13, with capacity for an additional 30 mission specialists.

The MRAV 3600 can accommodate 14 core and 45 additional mission crew and has enough space to provide emergency hospital services for 50 to 60 people.

Image: Artistic rendition of Damen’s new MRAVs. Photo: courtesy of Damen Shipyards Group.