Germany and the Royal Netherlands Navy have signed a letter of intent (LOI) marking the start of the development of a Joint Support Ship initiative and amphibious operation capability.
Under the Joint Support Ship initiative, the Dutch-German military cooperation will see the transport of soldiers and their equipment between land and sea.
The agreement is aimed at fostering military ties between both nations.
According to the LOI, Germany will use the Dutch 205m-long ship, HNLMS Karel Doorman (A833), which is designed to be capable to carry Leopard 2 battle tanks.
Additionally, German soldiers on-board the ship will be trained by their Dutch counterparts.
In exchange, a force of 800 German servicemen and women comprised of naval protection force, reconnaissance and commando units, mine-clearance divers and boarding soldiers, will be integrated into the Dutch navy.
According to DefenseNews, the German navy unit, which will be commissioned under the Dutch navy until 2018, will witness regular joint exercises.
Navy inspector vice admiral Andreas Krause was quoted by Navaltoday as saying: "This is also a ‘win-win’ situation. We obtain capabilities. Our Dutch partners obtain efficiency. And both navies achieve mutual integration on the long way to European armed forces."
The Dutch ship Karel Doorman is equipped with the required crew to deploy itself to a range of services including ferrying personnel and equipments to other ships as well as offer landing operations with heavy equipment and German Marine-helicopters helicopters.
In 2013, owing to budget constraints, the Netherlands used the ship exclusively as a supply ship with reduced crew.
Image: Karel Doorman docked at Den Helder. Photo: courtesy of Ministerie van Defensie.