The Netherlands and Belgium will purchase their new multipurpose frigates and mine countermeasures vessels together. On June 8th, The Dutch minister of Defence (Ank Bijleveld) and her Belgium colleague (Steven Vandeput) have signed 2 Memoranda of Understanding. This took place during a 2 day NATO meeting in Brussels.
Recently, parliament announced that the M-frigates and the mine countermeasures vessels will be replaced. Belgium will be in the lead for the acquisition of 12 mine countermeasures vessels including unmanned systems, of which 6 will be for the Netherlands. The Netherlands will be in the lead for the acquisition of the M-frigates. In total, 4 M-frigates will be built, 2 of which will be for the Belgium Navy.
Bijleveld: “To keep the neighborhood safe, you have to be able to count on you neighbors. The Netherlands praises itself very fortunate with its southern neighbors. Our collaboration is good. Very good. We look back on decades of good cooperation between our armed forces, including missions, maintenance, border crossing logistics, air defence, and education and training of our personnel.”
2025 in operation
The Ministry of Defence will request quotations without competition from Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales Nederland. This is done in the context of national security. Belgium will follow an international tendering procedure (Europe) for the mine countermeasures vessels. The first Dutch frigate and mine countermeasures vessel are expected to be operational in 2025. The configuration of the new M-frigates and mine countermeasures vessels will be same as the old vessels. This allows the maintenance to be divided by both countries leading to significant cost reductions.