Joint Support Ship

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A joint support ship (JSS) is a multi-role naval ship capable of launching and supporting "joint" amphibious operations. It also provides sea-lift, underway support, sea-basing and logistics capabilities for combined army and naval missions.[1][2][3]


Joint Support Ships have several common features to support the many multi-roles it can fulfill for both navies and armies. Below are some examples of these common features:

  • For sealift deck space is required for transport of heavy equipment and passenger space for military personnel.[3]
  • For underway support Joint Support Ships need enough fuel storage tanks and dry storage for ammunition/food and other supplies for replenishing other ships while underway.[4]
  • And for sea basing command rooms for mission coordination, a helicopter deck and/or LCU's for transport to shore and other support facilities like hospital rooms.[5][6]

Furthermore to fulfill the multi-role part a flexible modular design allows for configuration of temporary areas for different purposes as missions require. As such it is basically a combination of an amphibious warfare ship and different auxiliary ships like replenishment oiler, transport ship and hospital ship in one.[2]

German Taktische Konzept Mehrzweckschiff[edit]

Proposed ship 196 meters long, 20,000 ton displacement.[7]

  • Range 7500 nautical miles
  • RoRo capability
  • space for 271 vehicles
  • 8 helicopters
  • 1 landing craft
  • Room for 700 military personnel
  • and a 70 bed hospital with 2 operating rooms

Canadian Joint Support Ship[edit]

Main Article: Protecteur-class auxiliary vessel

In 1999 the Canadian Government sought to replace the aging Protecteur-class of auxiliary oiler replenishment (AOR) ships through the Afloat Logistic Support Capability (ALSC) program. The replacement program envisioned tanker ships with a roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) sealift capability.  These multi-role ships were envisioned to deploy mobilized forces directly to the beach. [8]

In 2004, Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Joint Support Ship (JSS) to replace the three AOR ships, although one AOR ship was already retired by the time the RFP was released.  The RFP capped the bid price at $1.5B.  (most reports state the cost was $2.1B, however $600M was reserved for the Government’s own project costs, and was not included in the RFP bid ceiling price).  The RFP called for three multi-role ships capable of refueling ships at sea, providing ship-borne helicopter support, heavy sealift capability, a mobile hospital, a joint force headquarters center, and a strengthened hull for operations in sea ice. [9] 

PWGSC cancelled the program in 2008 after stating all the received bids were above the mandatory budget. The Canadian Government restarted the JSS procurement process in the same year. [10]

In 2013 Canada selected the Berlin-class replenishment ship design to replace the Protecteur-class fleet. The German design provides fuel, provisions, ammunition, and some materiel and medical capabilities, and can land up to two helicopters. [11]  The ships are to be built in Vancouver by Seaspan Shipyards under the National Ship Procurement Strategy (NSPS). [12]

Originally to be designated as the Queenston-class with ship names of HMCS Queenston and HMCS Châteauguay (named after battle sites from the War of 1812), in 2017 the Royal Canadian Navy renamed the Joint Support Ships to the former Protecteur-class designation, re-using the same ship names HMCS Protecteur and HMCS Preserver.[13]

The cost of building the two replenishment ships was set at $2.3B (CAD) with first delivery occurring in 2018.  In 2018, the Government’s own review indicated the total cost was then calculated to be $3.4B, with first delivery not likely before 2022 or 2023. [14]

Dutch Joint Support Ship[edit]

Artist impression of the JLOS Karel Doorman

Since 2015 the Dutch Navy has the HNLMS Karel Doorman as their only Joint Support Ship.[4] In 2016 the Dutch and German Ministers of Defence agreed that the HNLMS Karel Doorman would be shared by both the Dutch Navy and the German Navy.[15]


  1. ^ Kimber, Andy. "Joint Support Ships Trumping the Jack of All Trades". BMT Defence Services Ltd. Missing or empty |url= (help); |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  2. ^ a b "Joint logistic Support Ship (JSS)" (in Dutch). Dutch Ministry of Defence. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Joint Support Ship". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "The Dutch JSS Multi-Purpose Support Ship". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  5. ^ "Karel Doorman klasse JSS" (in Dutch). Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  6. ^ "Joint Support Ship: New and Replace Existing Systems". National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  7. ^ "Joint Support Ship - Taktische Konzept Mehrzweckschiff (TKM) - Einsatz Truppenunterstützungsschiff (ETrUS)". Global Security. Retrieved February 27, 2018.
  8. ^ "Joint Support Ship (JSS)". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  9. ^ googletag.display;, Defense Industry Daily staff. "Canadas C$ 2.9B Joint Support Ship#8221; Project, Take 3". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  10. ^ "Joint Support Ship (JSS)". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  11. ^ googletag.display;, Defense Industry Daily staff. "Canadas C$ 2.9B Joint Support Ship#8221; Project, Take 3". Defense Industry Daily. Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  12. ^ "Joint Support Ship (JSS)". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  13. ^ Government of Canada, National Defence (2017-09-26). "Navy News | Joint Support Ships to be renamed Protecteur and Preserver". Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  14. ^ Pugliese, David; June 5, Ottawa Citizen Updated:; 2018 (2018-06-05). "Joint Support Ship cost up by $1.1 billion – taxpayers will now spend $3.4 billion on project | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved 2019-01-21.
  15. ^ "Germany and the Netherlands sign Joint Support Ship LOI". Naval Today. Retrieved July 21, 2018.

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