Damen Shipyards has begun work on a new multi-role maritime platform that will enable the Portuguese navy to conduct tasks including the operation of embarked helicopters and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

The subject of a contract announced last November, Lisbon’s future addition is a 107m (350ft)-long vessel with a 94m-long flightdeck and 650sq m (7,000sq ft) cargo deck.

Portuguese navy PNM ship

Source: Damen Shipyards

Portugal’s new vessel will have a 94m-long flightdeck for helicopter and UAV operations

“It is a solution for the increasing use of drone technology in combat and surveillance,” the shipbuilder says. A stern-mounted ramp also will enable the deployment and recovery of unmanned surface and underwater vehicles.

Jointly developed by Damen and the Portuguese navy, the ship also is intended to perform tasks such as naval and amphibious support, search and rescue, and humanitarian relief.

The service’s current rotorcraft capability is delivered using three Leonardo Helicopters Lynx 95 rotorcraft, embarked aboard frigates. The Portuguese air force, meanwhile, flies the same airframer’s AW101 transport helicopter.

Damen announced in late-February that it has begun construction activities on the Multi-Purpose Support Ship (MPSS) 7000 platform for Lisbon. The company promoted the design and its 130m-long MPSS 9000 sister model at the DIMDEX show in Doha, Qatar from 4-6 March.

MPSS 7000 ship

Source: Damen Shipyards

MPSS 7000 design is also offered with a flat-deck configuration

Portugal is making the acquisition via the EU’s recovery and resilience funding mechanism.