The benefits of an effective deck can be felt far beyond the ship on which it’s installed. The story of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Karel Doorman is a prime example of that statement made manifest. Through the installation of a high temperature proof helideck, she was made an increasingly internationally valuable asset to the waters. Let’s look at how a helideck changed the destiny of Karel Doorman.
A series of vigorous tests was essential in determining whether Karel Doorman was up to the standards necessary to land a US Marines Osprey aircraft upon her decks. There’s a huge difference between landing helicopters (which usually grace her decks) and landing an Osprey. The Osprey tilts its engines which then blast hot exhaust over the deck. Working alongside the Royal Netherlands Navy, we developed a deck that is resistant to such activity. In testing, the Bolidt deck could withstand exhaust gasses of 250 degrees celsius. After seven landings and take offs with the Osprey, there were no visual impairments. The first landing kept the Osprey on deck for seven minutes with its engines tilted, while part of the crew disembarked. Over the next six landings the aircraft stayed on deck for approximately one minute, with the engines turned vertically, applying the maximum heat load onto the deck. During the final landing, the crew returned and the fuel tanks were filled, keeping the aircraft on deck for a total of fourteen minutes with tilted engines.
Under the scrutiny of a hammer, microscope, hardness meter and thermometer, no weakening of the deck could be found. The temperature of the deck was measured shortly after the final take off, resulting in a surface temperature of 105°C in the hottest spots. The BOLIDT B2 System was checked for delamination but none was found.
An Osprey aircraft can stay in the air for approximately 3 hours before Triple Romeo (Running Rotor Refuelling) becomes necessary. This meant that every 3 hours they’d have to pause their mission for the sake of refueling. By having a deck onboard a ship over the horizon (in middle of the sea), these pit-stops become much more convenient and endurance is enhanced significantly. The units can fill up as they go. This gives the Americans (who utilize Karel Doorman) an advantages over their opposition. With increased accessibility, it also means that Karel Doorman, a costly investment, is paying itself back.
To be precise, Karel Doorman cost the Royal Netherlands Navy 363 million euros. Tests with the Osprey aircraft were also successfully completed with the Hs. Ms. Johan de Wit later in the same year.
As a result of the helideck, the American and Dutch Navy have become stronger allies. This, of course, has its influence on politics, which shows just how far reaching the results of a good deck can be.
As you can see, an effective deck speaks for much more than safety on board a ship. It can shift a whole platform of military function and cooperation, shaping the future of entire naval forces.Ask a question
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