Netherlands Defence Minister Ank Bijleveld-Schouten has signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) with her Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput for the joint procurement of multipurpose frigates and mine control vessels.
The Dutch Defense organisation intends to request offers, without competition, from the Netherlands-based shipyard Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Thales Netherlands under the procurement agreement.
The offers will relate to the acquisition of multipurpose frigates for the Royal Netherlands Navy.
Additionally, the Belgian Navy is expected to procure a set of minehunter vessels in Europe as part of the initiative.
The first Dutch frigates and minehunters are currently slated to enter service in 2025.
Bijleveld-Schouten said: “You have to be able to count on the neighbours if you want to keep the neighbourhood safe, and the Netherlands is very happy having such southern neighbours. Our cooperation is good, very good.
“We can look back on decades of cooperation between our armed forces in the field of missions, maintenance, cross-border logistics and air-space monitoring, as well as instruction and training of our staffs.”
The two navies’ multipurpose frigates are noted to be similar in terms of configuration and operations.
This similarity is expected to allow both nations to easily maintain the vessels among themselves, thereby ensuring significant cost savings.
The signing of the latest agreement was originally planned for 29 May during the Thalassa consultations in Brussels.
The regular consultation between the governments of the two countries is intended to further boost cooperation on naval developments.