Nederland Maritiem Land (Netherlands Maritime Country) was delighted to see the contents of the new Defense white paper. Besides extra room and attention for personnel, this white paper offers perspective on the most necessary replacement of the outdated vessels of the Royal Netherlands Navy. These replacement programs are essential for the innovative capacities of the whole maritime sector. Especially the replacement of the Walrus class submarines, if build within the Netherlands triple helix, will strengthen our leading position.
Yet, this defense white paper also provides reason for concerns. Regarding the acquisition of materiel, a sentence such as “Off the shelf, unless” conflicts with the desired innovation and development. In particular, by developing these naval vessels together with the end user, our sector stays innovative and healthy. These so-called launching customer projects are conditional for the Royal Netherlands Navy and the export of high quality naval systems.
In 2017 Nederland Maritiem Land had a study carried out, together with several partners, into the Dutch naval industry and the corresponding ecosystem. This study showed, amongst other findings, that the current geopolitical, military and technological trends demand targeted investments in new materiel for Defense. This is necessary to be able for the Royal Netherlands Navy to keep executing their task and to still be seen as a serious partner internationally. These new-build projects are important for the Royal Netherlands Navy and for the Dutch naval cluster. Else, the revenue capacities of the Dutch naval cluster, a completely self-creating and self-sustaining sector, are under serious pressure in the near future.
Nederland Maritiem Land finds it very important to carry out these replacement programs together. Only when the Dutch naval industry, the armed forces and the knowledge and research institutes join hands, can we offer the best boat for the best price. Through collaboration in the triple helix it is possible to offer innovative naval vessels for a competing price. That is good news for Defense and good news for the Dutch tax payer.
Also in the future we have to make sure that budgets for Defense keep increasing. As soon as the M-frigates, the mine counter measure vessels and submarines have been delivered, the air defense and command frigates are already up for replacement. We have to assure that by that time, the Defense budget has been raised considerably. Only then can the Royal Netherlands Navy, as well as all the armed forces, grow towards the level of safety that the Netherlands deserve.
Director of Nederland Maritiem Land