Navy wins big in Dutch 2018 defense white paper

The Royal Netherlands Navy, with over EUR6 billion in funds set aside for its acquisition and maintenance programs, is the major winner of the Netherlands defense ministry’s 2018 white paper.

Army and air force follow with little over two and one billion euros, respectively, while 1.7 billion is to go on IT and cyber.

The two most expensive navy programs in the white paper are the replacement of Walrus-class submarines and De Zeven Provinciën-class air defense frigates, both estimated at over 2.5 billion euro.

Contracts for the submarine construction are expected to be awarded in 2021 with the first submarine arriving in 2027. First of the new frigates is set to arrive in 2029.

Multipurpose frigates and mine countermeasure vessels which are being acquired jointly with Belgium are scheduled to arrive in 2024.

Other major programs in the white paper will include the procurement of new mine counter measures vessels, a combat support ship and the replacement of two landing platform docks in late 2020s. These two projects, alongside Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile and Standard Missile 2 procurement and integration, are estimated to cost between 250 and 1,000 million.

While presenting an increase in spending compared to the original budget, the 2018 white paper outlines a peak of 1.3% of GDP in 2020 which will still be well bellow NATO’s 2 percent target that is to be achieved by 2024. The Dutch defense ministry noted, however, that the white paper would be revised in 2022 with the aim of outlining steps aimed at achieving NATO’s capability targets.