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British Royal Navy destroyer HMS Defender in the Bosphorus Strait. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

British Royal Navy's Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender, followed by Royal Netherlands Navy frigate HNLMS Evertsen, sails in the Bosphorus, on its way to the Mediterranean Sea, in Istanbul, Turkey, July 2, 2021. REUTERS/Yoruk Isik

Netherlands to Spend Billions on Ships to Boost Defense Capacity

Total Views: 6890
March 3, 2024

By Sarah Jacob and Diederik Baazil

(Bloomberg) –The Netherlands has earmarked several billion euros to replace most of its large surface ships over the next 15 years, as the country seeks to boost its military capacity in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The nation has four air defense and command frigates that will reach the end of their service life in the next decade. The ships’ anti-aircraft missile armament will also need to be renewed, the Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday. It did not give a precise spending figure.

The Dutch government has been boosting its defense budget since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It invested 1.7% of its gross domestic product on defense at the end of last year, up from 1.15% in 2014. Spending is expected to be close to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s target of 2% of GDP from this year. The government is also due to announce the outcome of a multi-billion euro tender to replace its submarines in a few weeks.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte, a strong advocate of military aid to Ukraine, is seen as a leading contender to become the next secretary-general of NATO. Several countries including the US and the UK have offered their backing for Rutte to succeed Jens Stoltenberg this year.

The government aims to involve the Dutch maritime manufacturing industry in the frigate replacement project, including collaborating with companies such as Damen Naval and Thales Nederland. 

This approach “strengthens the Dutch defense industry in a sector where the Netherlands has a leading international position and thus contributes to the strengthening of European strategic autonomy,” State Secretary of Defense Christophe van der Maat said in the statement. 

The first new ship is expected to be operational by 2036, with the others to follow over the next five years. 

© 2024 Bloomberg L.P.

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