Defense has 4 Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) built frigates, two for the Dutch and two for the Belgian Navy. Minister Kajsa Ollongren and her Belgian counterpart Ludivine Dedonder signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) about the purchase of this. That happened today on board HNLMS Ruyter in the port of Antwerp, prior to a royal state visit. The ships are more expensive than initially budgeted, as is the modified MoU.
The Belgian and Dutch navies work closely together, including in the areas of mine control, maintenance, education and training. In 2018, both countries agreed to replace the 4 multipurpose frigates with ASW frigates under the Dutch leadership.
The amended contracts are signed by the relevant suppliers. It is expected to happen this month. The fact that the costs are higher than initially estimated is partly due to cost increases due to COVID-19. In addition, the war in Ukraine, extra budget for more modern systems and extra ammunition plays a role in this.
Under the Belgian leadership, both countries also replaced the mine-fighting vessels. It concerns 6 of these ships per country that the French Naval Group is building.
Machine guns for Ukraine
As the first interpretation of this amount, the Netherlands concluded a contract for € 111 million with the Belgian company FN Herstal for MAG machine guns for Ukraine. These are medium-heavy machine guns that can be used against ground and air targets.
The Dutch royal couple has been on a state visit in Belgium since the day before yesterday and was informed about the maritime cooperation. That happened in front of Ollongren on board De Ruyter and the Belgian frigate Louise-Marie in the port of Antwerp.