Damen Shipyards Group has secured a contract for designing, constructing, and outfitting a multi-purpose vessel.

The Portuguese Navy signed the deal with Damen Shipyards Group when Rear Admiral Jorge Pires, director of ships, and Damen Shipyards Group CCO Jan Wim Dekker formalised the contract.

Fuelled by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience facility, this “world’s first” 107-metre vessel is a multi-dimensional platform engineered for oceanic research, search and rescue missions, emergency relief, maritime safety, and naval support. The vessel integrates drone deployment capabilities.

The third largest sector in the Portuguese defence market is naval vessels and surface combatants, which is expected to total $283.8m over the forecast period, according to GlobalData’s “Portugal Defense Market 2023-2028” report.

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By GlobalData

Damen’s design caters to diverse mission profiles. Equipped with laboratories and accommodations for scientific staff, the vessel excels in oceanic research. Simultaneously, it has a stern ramp for unmanned underwater and surface vehicles, a sizable flight deck, and hangars for unmanned aerial vehicles.

Termed a multifunctional naval platform by the Portuguese Navy, the vessel is versatile with a 650m² cargo deck and space for twelve 20-foot containers. This modular design allows on-the-fly customisation, from containerised hospital facilities to ROV equipment, adapting to evolving mission requirements.

Damen Shipyards Group CEO Arnout Damen expressed pride in being chosen for this project, “We are proud to have been selected to build this spectacular vessel for the Portuguese Navy. It is the first of its kind, with the highest capabilities to create awareness, deploy and manage all types of drones.”

According to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Portuguese defence market, Damen Shipyards provided two M-class frigates to Portugal’s naval fleet between 2009 and 2010. 

This endeavour follows the Portuguese Navy’s integration of two Damen-built vessels, the Bartolomeu Dias-class multi-purpose frigates, which underwent a modernisation programme.