Dutch naval manufacturer, Damen –  the prime contractor for the future Belgian and Dutch anti-submarine warfare frigates (ASWF) – has signed a contract with another supplier based in the Netherlands, Hatenboer-Water, to provide freshwater systems for the four ships being constructed in the joint programme.

Damen Naval signed the contract for the design and construction of the ASWF in June 2023. The frigates will be deployable for multiple tasks, although the emphasis will be on ASW.

Initially, Belgium approved funding of €1bn ($1.2bn) for its pair of ships, while the Netherlands was expected to spend about €1.5bn.

However, in April 2023, it was reported that the cost of the four vessels would reach about €4bn ($4.4bn). The Netherlands expects to receive the first vessel by 2029 and the second one by 2031, but with delays it may take until 2033.

The 146-metre frigates will be largely automated, operated only by a small crew. While the primary role of these frigates is the detection and destruction of submarines, each ship comes equipped with a Thales above water warfare system to combat surface and air threats.

Both navies’ new ships will replace their existing M-class frigates, which the Netherlands procured between 1993-95 and Belgium acquired between 2007-08.

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Damen contracts another Dutch supplier

Hatenboer-Water is not the only Dutch supplier in the ASWF programme. Damen Naval, has subcontracted Schelde Gears B.V. – a Dutch subsidiary of the German defence supplier RENK – to supply eight gearbox systems for the Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) frigates due to be delivered to the Belgian and Dutch navies.

“From the very beginning, we have said that we want to involve as many companies from the Dutch maritime manufacturing industry as possible in our projects,” explains Damen Naval project director Joop Noordijk. “Safe and clean water on board is essential and we look forward to working with Hatenboer-Water.”

Schiedam-based Hatenboer-Water has been supplying water supply systems to ships worldwide since 1906 and introduced the ‘Safe Water on Board’ concept, combining water treatment and distribution installation with global assistance for management and maintenance.

The company also supplies the water systems for the F126 frigates that Damen Naval is building for the German Navy.