On Wednesday 24 June, the Dutch Ministry of Defense took an essential step in the replacement of the current M frigates of the Netherlands and Belgian Navies. The B-letter was sent to the Dutch Lower House, marking the completion of the investigation phase, with a design that meets the requirements of both the Defense and NATO. Damen, Thales and a whole chain of companies involved in naval shipbuilding in the Netherlands, are delighted with this next step. They are ready to start with the next phase of the project.
Director Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding Hein van Ameijden: “This kind of launching customer projects are essential for the future of naval shipbuilding in the Netherlands. We are delighted that we can build the successor to the M frigates. Much more importantly, the men and women of the Royal Netherlands Navy will once again have an innovative ship at their disposal, to sail and fight with.”
The main task of the frigates will be to fight submarines remotely. This will be performed by way of a new torpedo, to be deployed from the ship or by the NH90 helicopter onboard. This is one of the subjects stated in the letter that the Dutch Lower House received from State Secretary Barbara Visser. The current four M frigates of the Belgian and Dutch navies are at the end of their lifetime.
In addition to submarine combat, the new frigates must be able to protect themselves and other units. They must be deployable worldwide for maritime combat and safety operations and assistance. This requires means of defence against threats from the air and enemy ships on and underwater.
The frigate has room for a 110-man crew. For mission-specific personnel and their equipment, 40 extra beds and various spaces are available. The first ship is expected to be delivered in 2027. After that, operational effectiveness and safety of the ship will be tested. The Dutch Navy is expected to receive this first frigate in 2028 and the second one a year later. The Belgian frigates will be delivered no later than 2030.