In 2016, the German Foreign Minister and the Dutch Foreign Minister signed a treaty to “share” the HNLMS Karel Doorman.
In modern naval history, it is hard to believe that two military powers like Germany and the Netherlands are sharing a warship. Valued at about 363 million Euro equivalent to nearly half a billion US dollars, the amphibious assault ship named HNLMS Karel Doorman with the hull number is A833.
The fate of HNLMS Karel Doorman was quite “messy” when it was laid down and built at the Romanian shipyard since 2011. By 2013 the ship was launched and then brought to the Netherlands. It was not until April 24, 2015 the Karel Doorman joined the Royal Netherlands Navy.
In 2016, the German Foreign Minister and the Dutch Foreign Minister signed a treaty to “share” the HNLMS Karel Doorman. Starting from February 3, 2016, the HNLMS Karel Doorman was officially used by the Dutch Navy and the German Navy as a Joint Logistic Support Ship.
Considered the largest warship ever built in Romania, the Karel Doorman has a displacement of 27,800 tons, 204.7m (671.5 ft) in length, a beam of 30.4m (99.7 ft) and a draught of 7.8m (25.5 ft). The joint logistic support ship incorporates highly flexible design with blast resistant structures. It is fitted with noise and magnetic signature reduction measures.
For maritime support the ship will have two Replenishment-At-Sea masts, the holding capacity of approx 8000 m3 of fuel, more than 1000 m3 of helicopter fuel, approx 450 m3 of potable water and approx 400 tonnes of ammunition and other supplies.
Karel Doorman has an elevator and crane for up to 40 tons, a roll on facility for vehicles, and a steel beach stern construction for accommodating cargo transfer via landing craft. The ship is equipped with two LCVP landing craft.
For sea-basing operations she has a large helicopter deck with landing spots for operating two Chinooks simultaneously, and a hangar with a storage capacity of up to 6 medium-sized helicopters, including NH-90, CH-47F and AH-64D Apache. Karel Doorman can accommodate up to 300 personnel, of which 159 are the ship’s crew. She also has command rooms for war staffs and a large hospital facility with 20 treatment areas, and two surgery rooms. Modular flexibility allows configuration of temporary areas for evacuees or prisoners.
The Karel Doorman vessel is powered by diesel electric propulsion system consisting of five Rolls-Royce Bergen Diesel generators with a power output of approximately 24.8 megawatt. The propulsion system also consists of two fixed pitch propellers and rudders, two 1.25 megawatt bow thrusters, and a 0.75 megawatt stern thruster.
The power of the engine provided the ship with the ability to move at a maximum speed of 18 knots and a range of 9,800 nautical mile at 12 knots.
Positioned off shore, the Karel Doorman is designed to act as a Sea Based Operations Platform supporting land forces with logistic support providing supplies and helicopter support.
The armament of the joint logistic support ship is heavier than the same type warships, but is still primarily for self-defence. In high-risk operations the ship will require additional protection from frigates or destroyers.
Two Goalkeeper Close-in weapon systems protect the ship against incoming missiles and aircraft at short range, the guns can fire at a rate of 4,200 rounds a minute. While two Oto Melara Marlin WS 30mm rapid cannons provide force-protection against small surface targets such as high speed boats.
The Karel Doorman is also equipped with 4 Oto Melara Hitrole NT 12.7mm guns. All weapon systems of the Karel Doorman are remote-controlled from the operations and command room.
Karel Doorman has the same sensor suite as the Holland-class offshore patrol vessels. All sensor systems are housed in an integrated mast, provided by Thales Nederland, called the I-Mast 400, comprising a SeaMaster 400 SMILE air warning radar, a SeaWatcher 100 active phased-array surface detection and tracking radar and the GateKeeper infra-red electro-optical warning system. With these systems the ship is able to monitor 140 nautical mile using an Integrated Sensor and Communication Systems, also by Thales Nederland.
Even though Karel Doorman had just finished sea trials and had not yet been commissioned, on November 6, she was sent on a three-month deployment to West Africa to deliver aid to Ebola-struck countries. In the autumn of 2017 Karel Doorman was send to the Caribbean for humanitarian aid after the region was struck by Hurricane Irma, she was also participated in the NATO exercise Trident Juncture in 2018.
Up to now, the Netherlands and Germany have no intention of building any more amphibious assault ships of this type. It seems that HNLMS Karel Doorman is more than enough for the shipping and logistics needs of both the German Navy and the Dutch Navy.
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