Netherlands - Rotterdam Class Landing Platform, Dock (LPD)

Rewritten October 2001

Program Status:

Batch I: Complete.

Batch II: Planned – likely. The Defense White Paper 2000, released in late 1999, authorized the acquisition of a second Rotterdam class landing platform, dock (LPD). It will probably be ordered in 2002, conduct sea trials in 2006, and be commissioned into the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNlN) in 2007.

rotterdam_class_lpd.jpg (46502 bytes)
Rotterdam Class (LPD)

Operational Requirement: The RNlN has a requirement for a force of modern LPDs to provide an amphibious lift and command and control capability for military operations in support of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) strategy of collective security, flexible long-range response, and peacekeeping. A secondary mission area is support for humanitarian relief operations, such as natural disasters, drought, or conflict-driven refugee crises. A third potential mission area is support for deployed mine countermeasures vessels.

Program Background: The Dutch Marine Corps had been seeking an amphibious platform for its own power projection purposes since the late 1950s. In the early 1980s, the RNlN acknowledged the requirement for an amphibious transport capability and preliminary design work began in 1984. A formal staff requirement was developed in December 1988.

In 1990, the Spanish Government expressed interest in a ship similar to the vessel that was under (Rotterdam class) development by the RNlN. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries in June 1992 that set the foundation for development of a joint design. A joint project office was set up in Madrid to handle the joint Amphibious Transport Ship (ATS)/LPD Program, and also the Fleet Replenishment Oiler (AOR) Program that was already underway (an effort that produced the Amsterdam class AOR for the RNlN and the Patino for the Spanish Navy).

Project definition began in January 1993 and was completed in December of the same year. The Dutch Parliament authorized the beginning of contract negotiations with Royal Schelde on 30 June 1993 with the intention of ordering one ship. Agreement was reached between Royal Schelde and the Dutch Government on 01 April 1994, and a contract was signed on 25 April 1994. The first steel was cut for Rotterdam on 03 April 1995, and the keel was laid on 25 January 1996. Launch followed in February of 1997, and Rotterdam was commissioned on 18 April 1998.

In Spain, a parallel initiative resulted in the construction of Galacia by Empresa Nacional Bazan. Galacia was commissioned on 30 April 998, and a second unit (Castilla) is under construction. Galacia and Rotterdam are near-sisters, with some differences in the propulsion and combat systems.

Program Acquisition Plan: On 25 January 1999, the Netherlands Ministry of Defense announced a restructuring of the armed forces that is meant to enhance the military’s capability to conduct crisis operations. As part of this restructuring, the Minister of Defense indicated that a second Rotterdam class LPD would enter service by 2007. The Defense White Paper 2000, released in late 1999, reiterated that a second unit would be ordered by 2002, for delivery in 2007. In all likelihood, Royal Schelde (now part of the Damen Shipyard Group), builder of the first unit, will be contracted to build the second ship.

The RNlN refers to the Rotterdam class as an Amphibious Transport Ship (ATS), but the ships clearly fit in the traditional amphibious ship category of Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD).

The construction schedule for the Rotterdam class is as follows:



Laid Down





25 Jan 96

22 Feb 97

18 Apr 98



2003 (Est.)

2005 (Est.)

2007 (Est.)

Design and Construction Considerations: Rotterdam was built to merchant ship specifications and Lloyd’s Register rules, with some military provisions. Information available from RNlN sources indicates that the second unit of the class will probably be built along similar lines to Rotterdam. However, the second unit is expected to be 12 meters (39.3ft) longer, and one meter (3.2ft) wider to handle the United Kingdom’s Mk X utility landing craft (LCU). Additionally, the second vessel will will be configured to embark a 400-strong Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) headquarters afloat.

A. Hull and Mechanical: Rotterdam was built using a pre-assembled modular construction process. The ship was divided into 20 modules, which were pre-fitted with the structural elements, equipment, plumbing and wiring. The modular construction process played a major role in reducing costs and overall construction time.

Rotterdam employs a combined diesel-electric propulsion system (it’s Spanish near-sister uses a direct diesel propulsion system). According to Royal Schelde, the diesel-electric drive is more efficient, thus reducing maintenance costs and overall life-cycle costs.

ImTech Marine & Industry (formerly van Rietschoten & Houwens/CAE) provided the integrated monitor and control system (IMCS) for Rotterdam, and will likely do the same for the second unit.

B. Amphibious Lift: Rotterdam can carry a battalion of marines (611 troops), and thirty main battle tanks or 90 armored infantry fighting vehicles, disembark the force onto the beach, and support them for up to ten days. Unit number two will have similar lift capabilities, and will carry 400 additional troops to man the CJTF headquarters element.

Rotterdam’s helicopter hangar provides space for four EH 101, Sea King, Cougar, Apache, or Cobra helicopters. The 56m (183.7 ft) flight deck has two landing spots for simultaneous handling of two helicopters. The flight deck in unit two will be strengthened to accommodate the CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

The well dock, with a water depth of 2.2m (7.2 ft), can take four landing craft utility (LCUs). To equip the Rotterdam, the RNlN ordered five roll-on/roll-off LCUs from Den Helder-based Visser Shipyard under a US$12M contract. The LCUs, designated Mk 9, displace 200 tons, and can carry 130 troops, or two Warrior armored personnel carriers, or three trucks. Another set of LCUs will be needed to equip the second ship. Unit two will be approximately one meter (3.2ft) longer to accommodate the UK’s MK X LCUs, however, the well dock will also be designed shorter to increase available deck space for vehicles. Two of the four Mk 9 landing craft carried in the well deck of unit one, will be carried topside on davits in unit two.

Onboard hospital facilities include two fully equipped operating rooms, ten intensive-care beds, X-ray facilities, treatment rooms, and an emergency sick bay able to handle 100 casualties.

C. Combat Systems: The RNlN installed a command and control system based on the US Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS), partially to ensure full compatibility with UK and US Navy amphibious ships. The JMCIS suite in Rotterdam includes 14 operator consoles, which are integrated with a much smaller ship-navigation system. The latter includes a Kelvin Hughes ARPA system to display data from the Thales Nederland SCOUT low-probability-of-intercept surface search radar. RNlN officers have said that the JMCIS suite in Rotterdam will allow the ship to command a small battalion-sized amphibious operation, including the landing craft and helicopters of several other ships. In peacekeeping operations, the ship can be positioned offshore to provide command and control, logistical, and medical support to a battalion of peacekeepers operating ashore without support facilities.

The external communications systems in both Rotterdam and Galacia were provided by Rohde & Schwarz (which also provided the communications system for the De Zeven Provincien class destroyers). Rohde & Schwarz will probably also win the contract for the second unit.

Other combat system equipment includes the Thales Nederland DA 08 air search radar, a Thales Nederland IRSCAN infrared search and track system, two Thales Nederland Goalkeeper 30 mm Close-in-Weapon-Systems (CIWS), and four Oerlikon Contraves 20mm guns.

Royal Schelde has also launched a family of four export designs, referred to as the Enforcer Family, which is based on the Rotterdam class. The Enforcer Family is described as "cheap and cheerful" versions of the Rotterdam class, with costs reduced through increased modularity, reduced top speeds, and increased use of commercial construction standards. Some versions are also shorter in length, while the propulsion machinery has been moved from the original amidships position to two hull sections flanking the well dock. The four Enforcer designs vary in length from 126.2m (414 ft) to 162.2m (532.2 ft), and in displacement from 9,180 tons to 14,000 tons. The ship’s complement would be 124 for all four designs. Enforcer 1 to 3 could transport 501 troops and Enforcer 4 could embark 613.

Ship Characteristics:

Vessel Type





Amphibious Transport Ship (ATS)/Landing Platform, Dock (LPD)

Total Number

Batch I: 1

Batch II: 1

Unit Cost (US$)

200M (Est.)


Probably Royal Schelde (now Damen Shipyard Group)

Displ. Tons



178.2m (584.6ft)


28m (91.6ft)


6m (19.6ft)


Diesel-electric: Two Stork Wartsila 12SW28 diesel generators (14.6MW) powering two Holec electromotors (16,320 hp/12MW); two shafts; bow thruster (252 hp/185kW).

Speed (Knots)



6,000nm at 12kts.




Guns: Four Oerlikon Contraves 20mm guns.

Close-in-Weapon-System (CIWS): Two Thales Nederland Goalkeeper 30mm CIWS.

Military lift

Approximately 600 combat troops, 400 headquarters personnel, and thirty main battle tanks or 90 armored personnel carriers. Four LCU Mk IX or six LCVP. Cargo: 1,030 tons of fuel, 900 square meter garage, 400 square meters of dry provisions, 300 square meters of ammunition.

CMS/Fire Control

Combat Management System (CMS): Joint Maritime Command Information System (JMCIS).

Fire Control: Thales Nederland IRSCAN infrared director.


Air/surface search: Thales Nederland DA 08 (E/F band).

Surface search: Thales Nederland Scout.

Navigation: Kelvin Hughes ARPA x 2.


Electronic Support Measures (ESM)/Electronic Countermeasures (ECM): Intercept and jammer.

Decoys: Four Mk 36 SRBOC decoy launchers for chaff.

Torpedo decoys: One Northrop Grumman AN/SLQ-25 Nixie.


Four EH 101, Sea King, Cougar, Apache, or Cobra helicopters. Unit two will be CH-47 Chinook capable.

Key Personnel:

· Royal Netherlands Navy

Rear Admiral Peter van der Struis (July 2001)
Directorate of Naval Materiel (DMKM)
Admiraliteit, P.O. Box 20702
NL-2500 ES The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 316 2600
Fax: +31 70 316 2615
R.B.J. Bongers
Directorate of Naval Materiel (DMKM) -- Procurement Division
V.D. Burchlaan 31, P.O. Box 20702
NL-2500 ES The Hague
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 70 316 9111
Fax: +31 70 316 2281

· Royal Schelde

R. van de Graaf
LCF Marketing Manager
Royal Schelde
Glacisstraat 165, P.O. Box 16
4380 AA Vlissingen
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 1184 821 18
Fax +31 1184 850 10

· Schelde Shipbuilding BV (Damen Shipyard Group)

Mr. P.E. Denis
Managing Director
Schelde Shipbuilding BV
Glacisstraat 165, PO Box 555
NL-4380 AN Vlissingen
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 1184 850 00
Fax: + 31 1184 850 50

· Thales Naval Nederland

Mr. Sander van der Schoot
Business Unit Director Radar and Sensors
Thales Naval Nederland
Zuidelijke Havenweg 40
PO Box 42 7550 GD Hengelo
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 0 74 248 8111
Fax: + + 31 0 74 248 5936

· ImTech Marine and Industry

Mr. Terry F. van Velzen
Director of Marketing and Sales
ImTech Marine and Industry
Sluisjesdijk 155
P.O. Box 5054
3008 AB Rotterdam
The Netherlands
Tel: + 31 10 487 1377
Fax: + 31 10 487 1745