DISCOVER Magazine #7

Damen Services installs bespoke bridge simulator for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Published in category: Defence & Security

Damen in cooperation with VSTEP Simulation has completed a project to build and install a NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator with Alphatron Marine equipment for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force. In the last week of January, the site acceptance tests were successfully completed at the RBDF’s base at Coral Harbour, after which Senior Lieutenant Origin Deleveaux, the officer responsible for training at the RBDF, inspected the simulator and declared it ready for training.


The simulator forms part of the Sandy Bottom project wherein Damen has delivered a total of nine vessels across three classes and refitted two existing corvettes. At the same time, Van Oord has been undertaking an upgrade of the RBDF bases and infrastructure. The bridge simulator replicates the complete bridge for maximum realism and has been configured so that that it can be used for training personnel on all four vessel types. While they all share common systems and other characteristics, they also have their differences when it comes to certain controls. To accommodate this the simulator has removeable steering consoles and the touch screen panels adjust to reflect the data relevant to each vessel type. Changing from one to another can be done in just a few minutes.

Not only does the simulator exactly reproduce the dynamics of each vessel in a wide range of conditions, but also a great deal of work has gone into digitally recreating the geography of the whole of The Bahamas, an area of 13,878 km2, including nine detailed ports. Enhancing the detail of the existing charting involved a year of taking pictures and videos down to the smallest islands and inlets. As a result the simulator reproduces almost every physical detail including radar as well as visual imagery, right down to individual navigation lights.

Damen Services installs bespoke bridge simulator for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

Efficient and cost-effective

Based in Rotterdam, VSTEP is well-known for its state-of-the-art DNV certified simulators, which facilitate training in compliance with all design criteria, class and IMO requirements. The RBDF’s system will train existing personnel and new cadets in an efficient, flexible and economical way. By maximising the preparedness of the crews it will increase both operational effectiveness and on board safety. The training simulations include situations which are difficult or dangerous in real life, as well as ship handling and manoeuvring, and various other operations that crew can expect to undertake in their domestic waters.

NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator for the Royal Bahamas Defence Force

“We will continue supporting the RBDF as they integrate the simulator into their training programme,” says Damen Services Project Engineer Janneke van Loo, who oversaw the handover. “As for maintenance, it does not require much and VSTEP can access the system remotely from Rotterdam and perform diagnostics and install software patches and upgrades as required. Should the RBDF wish to add any more vessels to the system, the necessary development work should take only 6 to 8 weeks.”

Janneke van Loo and NAUTIS Full Mission Bridge Simulator

Damen and VSTEP have an ongoing relationship, with the latter supplying its equipment to 360-Control, a training centre specialising in tug and OSV training located in Ijmuiden that is part of the Damen group. With this successful delivery of the RBDF bridge simulator, Damen has demonstrated its ability to deliver such systems as a turnkey package to third parties and provide comprehensive support to ensure that all their benefits are fully realised.

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