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Damen Shipyards delivers flexible combatants for an uncertain world

Posted on February 26, 2024

Damen Shipyards has an established track record of working with navies and maritime security agencies around the world to meet their security needs. With its continuously evolving portfolio of ready-to-build designs as well as its experience in bespoke shipbuilding, it has in recent years worked with more than a dozen countries to deliver over 50 naval vessels with a wide range of capabilities.

As Europe’s leading naval shipbuilder, it has a major role in supplying and maintaining vessels for the Royal Netherlands Navy, whose recent projects include the 204-metre Joint Support Ship HNLMS Karel Doorman and the soon to be delivered 179-metre Combat Support Ship Den Helder. But it is also playing the leading role in the development not only of the four Multi-Purpose Combat Ships F126 for the German Navy, but also of four Anti-Submarine Warfare frigates for the Dutch and Belgian Navies.

In addition, Damen has also worked with more than a dozen other governments to deliver vessels ranging from a 100-metre Landing Support Ship for the Nigerian Navy to two, 10514 Guided Missile Frigates, for Indonesia.


Damen’s SIGMA concept, Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach, is a core element of Damen’s approach to versatile, cost-effective naval shipbuilding. It allows for standardised hulls into which predesigned mission modules selected by the customer and built at the same time on multiple sites can be inserted. The result is custom vessels built using proven designs and systems, as demonstrated by Mexico’s SIGMA 10514 Long Range Ocean Patrol vessels and Indonesia’s four, 91 metres long, SIGMA 9113 Corvettes.

Our yards

Damen’s in-house naval shipbuilding capabilities are focused on its shipyards in Vlissingen, the Netherlands, and Galati, Romania. However, through the Damen Technical Cooperation programme, governments can build their vessels in their own yards, supported by Damen at a level of their choice. As one of Europe’s top naval shipbuilders, Damen Shipyards Group’s naval roots go back over 150 years and it has delivered over 400 naval vessels in that time.

Today, Damen designs and builds a comprehensive range of naval combatant and support ships. Large naval vessels are among the most complex ships afloat, built to undertake a wide variety of roles using sophisticated equipment and systems, and with substantial crews for their size. As such, key attributes need to include flexibility, deployability, survivability, sustainability, weapons capability and high levels of automation.


Damen’s largest vessels are exceptionally complex. At their heart lie the Combat Management Systems (CMS) and Integrated Platform Management Systems (IPMS) that underpin all their operations. Their installation and integration lies at the core of each project. Damen is proud to have delivered fifteen such vessels in the past fifteen years. Fourteen of these required the installation of both the CMS and IPMS, and the fifteenth, a 100-metre Landing Ship Transport for the Nigerian Navy, just the IPMS.

Damen is also proud to have delivered five naval vessels to the navy of Indonesia, three to the Moroccan Navy and one vessel to Mexico. Indonesia’s first order was for four SIGMA 9113 corvettes that use modular platform components to facilitate bespoke operational characteristics. That was followed eight years later by a second order, this time for two of the larger, 105-metre SIGMA 10514 frigates, the most advanced vessel in the range. The Moroccan Navy also chose the SIGMA concept with its inherent flexibility, opting for two SIGMA 9813 and a SIGMA 10513, all delivered in 2011. The Mexican Navy’s recent addition is also based on the SIGMA 10514.

Why Damen?

Damen’s defence and security portfolio is comprehensive. As well at designing and building front line combatants it also has a range of Standard Patrol vessels ranging in size from 16 to 62 metres for in and near-shore operations. Its Offshore Patrol Vessels, from 83 to 98 metres, can be customised to meet any requirement. Damen also builds custom naval vessels to meet any need, including air defence frigates, submarine support ships and combat support ships.

The group has also designed and built some of the most complex vessels currently afloat. In addition to its naval projects, recent deliveries have included the ASRV (Antarctic Supply Research Vessel) Nuyina, delivered to the Australian Government in 2021. At 160 metres in length, it is the most sophisticated vessel of its kind in the world today. The following year, the world’s most advanced diamond recovery vessel, the 177-metre Benguela Gem, was unveiled in Namibia. This vessel was a joint venture between De Beers and the Government of Namibia.

Damen’s production techniques are supported by a set of strategic initiatives across the group. These include a firm commitment to its core values of stewardship, craftsmanship, fellowship and entrepreneurship, which in turn underpin its goal of delivering sustainability, digitalisation, operational excellence and a customer-centric approach. With these, Damen maintains a clear focus on both the present and the future as well as the needs of its customers.

The success of Damen Shipyards Group over the years has been based on a variety of factors, including its global outlook. As much of the world’s shipbuilding industry shifted from western countries to the Asian continent, Damen was among the first to recognise that it could continue to thrive by establishing a worldwide footprint. This strategy not only allows it to benefit from cost efficiencies, it also enables it to develop enduring relationships with its customers by investing in local facilities and partnerships.


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