The Netherlands has confirmed it intends to supply the minehunters and drone protection radar systems to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces in their fight against the Russian invasion. This donation is designed to help the war in Odesa, which has become particularly of strategic importance since the fall of Mariupol due to how vital the city is to global food security.
The announcement comes after Netherlands Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren’s recent visit to Mykolayiv and Odesa’s heavily bombed port cities.
During the visit, Ollongren also discussed the fortification of the coastal defences, the importance of the safe passage, and maritime security. Russia has laid many sea mines in the Black Sea that hinder safe passage.
French companies Naval Group and ECA Group entered a technological and commercial partnership to provide vessels for the Dutch naval forces.
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So far, the Dutch contribution totals a value of €1.2bn euros and has included self-propelled howitzers, Patriot launch systems and tanks. This year, the Dutch MoD approved the supply of Leopard-1A5 tanks to Ukraine in solidarity with various other European nations.
According to GlobalData’s “Netherlands Defense Market 2023-2028” report, the top segment in the Dutch defence market is naval vessels and surface combatants. The segment is expected to have a cumulative value of $4.4bn between 2023-28. The sector was valued at $480m in 2023 and is forecast to climb to $774m in 2028.
Once the minehunters are delivered, the additional vessels are expected to enhance the wartime capabilities and facilitate grain exports through the cities’ ports in the battle against Russian troops.
At the Future Soldier Conference 2023 in London in March, the Dutch MoD claimed it had a two-decade stock build-up of soldier equipment that was outdated and needed modernisation. Last month, the Netherlands also sought to purchase M142 HIMARS from the US.
Actions such as these show the need to modernise the Netherlands’ armed forces.
The Royal Netherlands Navy is replacing its minehunters with new mine countermeasures vessels. The intended delivery of two minehunters to Ukraine will occur once the replacement capabilities are realised.
Even before the conflict in Ukraine, the Netherlands’ defence spending plan articulated significant modernisation. The Dutch defence budget experienced substantial reductions in recent decades, including selling various equipment, but this modernisation requires increased spending, the GlobalData report stated.
Netherlands Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren said: “We can supply the material, but you are fighting for every inch of your homeland and the future of your children – A future in a free Ukraine and in a world where we respect each other’s borders. That is our goal.”
The naval vessels will be expected to be sent by the Netherlands in 2025, with the Ukrainian crew training on the ship to commence from the second half of 2023 onwards.