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Increase in price of Dutch-Belgian ASW frigates

By Defence Industry Europe

The Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands will order four anti-submarine frigates, two each for the Belgian Marinecomponent and the Dutch Koninklijke Marine. On June 22, Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren and her Belgian counterpart Ludivine Dedonder signed a new MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) for their purchase.

The revised Memorandum of Understanding states that the ships will be more expensive than originally budgeted.

The ASW (Anti Submarine Warfare) frigate acquisition program for both fleets is led by The Hague. Decisions on this matter were made in 2018. On April 3 this year, the Dutch government decided to purchase the frigates, and its Belgian counterpart approved this decision.

The four new frigates will replace the same number of M-class frigates (Karel Doorman-class) currently in service.

The revised contracts have yet to be signed by an industrial consortium led by Damen Naval that will build the ships. This is expected to happen this month.




The fact that the costs are higher than initially budgeted is partly due to the increase in prices as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the war in Ukraine plays a role, the extra budget for more modern systems, and extra ammunition.

In addition to the amendment to the previous MoU, the compensation agreement has also been signed. It states that the Netherlands will spend EUR 355 million in the Belgian arms industry. This is due to the higher cost of frigates and the leading role of the Dutch industry in their construction.

So far, it has not been clear how these funds will be allocated. But as the first implementation of this agreement, the Netherlands signed a contract worth EUR 111 million with the Belgian company FN Herstal for MAG (Mitrailleuse d’Appui General) machine guns intended for the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

 

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