DISCOVER Magazine #7

Flexibility, performance, perfection

Published in category: Defence & Security

International navies appreciate unique SIGMA concept

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding’s unique “SIGMA” concept is being embraced by navies across the globe. 2012 saw DSNS deliver the last in a series of three SIGMA Class Frigates to the Royal Moroccan Navy in September. This had followed an order for four SIGMA Corvettes for the Indonesian Navy.

Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding offers a complete range in the Surface Combatants sector including corvettes and multi-mission frigates. SIGMA – an acronym of Ship Integrated Geometrical Modularity Approach – is a pioneering construction method based on standard modules.

Royal Moroccan Navy delivery

The Royal Moroccan Navy’s frigates are equipped to carry out both traditional naval tasks, as well as maritime security and humanitarian aid operations.

Hein van Ameijden, Chief Executive Officer of DSNS, says: “We were very proud that the Royal Moroccan Navy chose Damen. In 2007 the sea trials for the corvettes for the Indonesian Navy were taking place and we invited a delegation from Morocco to come along. They were impressed and an order shortly followed.”

There were two major changes from the Indonesian vessels, one of which required the frigate to have a hangar onboard as well as a helideck. However, given SIGMA, this was no problem. DSNS simply lengthened the vessel in accordance with the concept, adding a 7.2 m section to accommodate the hangar. This resulted in two 98 m vessels and one of 105 m. The Moroccan corvettes are also equipped with longer-range, anti-aircraft missiles.



Short delivery times

“Because of SIGMA we could present a proposal fairly quickly and offer a short delivery time. The delivery of the last of the three frigates was achieved within four and a half years from the effective date of contract, after a period of detailed engineering and three years of construction,” he says.

“Undoubtedly, the Royal Moroccan Navy decided to award this contract to DSNS because of our ability to offer such quick delivery times. And crucially, SIGMA means that there is little risk involved. Customers can rest assured that vessels will be delivered on time to their exact specifications and budget.”

SIGMA can readily accommodate any specific platform and combat system requirements and the concept enables vessels to be built worldwide. However, although they are based on a standard design, vessels can be equipped with a large range of options to meet specific customer requirements.

Indonesian order

In 2012, DSNS was also very proud to see the Indonesian Ministry of Defence return to the shipyard. In June, DSNS signed a contract for the first of two SIGMA 10514 Guided Missile Frigates (known locally as the Perusak Kawal Rudal).

The vessels will be built in PT PAL Shipyard in Surabaya, Indonesia. “These will be a ‘big sister’ of the corvettes at 105 m long and 14 m wide and they will have longer range missiles onboard.”

Closer to home, the ‘HMS Holland’ for the Royal Netherlands Navy recently won the ‘Ship of the Year Award’. The groundbreaking design – where DSNS worked very closely with the Royal Netherlands Navy, the Dutch government and esteemed naval maritime cluster – means that the three Offshore Patrol Vessels can be operated with a crew of only 50.


Operation with a small crew is partly possible due to the integrated mast, which incorporates sensor, communication and radar systems and the revolutionary layout of the command bridge. The HMS Holland needs only two diesel and two electrical motors, making it inexpensive to run and environmentally friendly.

JSS on schedule

Separately, a Joint Support Ship for the Royal Netherlands Navy, the ‘Karel Doorman’ – which at 205 m is the largest naval ship ever built by DSNS – is under construction and on schedule for delivery in 2015.

Mr Van Ameijden says that the cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Navy allows DSNS to remain at the forefront of technology and innovation and this is appreciated by international navies. “Even though there are some defence cuts going on in Europe, there are still a lot of opportunities worldwide in both the traditional naval market and the security sector.”

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