Over the next year, the Netherlands and the UK will explore the possibility of cooperating on the procurement of new naval vessels. Both countries want to replace a number of ships with a new type over the next decade.

To this end, Dutch Minister of Defence Kajsa Ollongren and her British counterpart James Cartlidge signed a statement on 30 June. It concerns vessels that are able to carry the vehicles, boats, aircraft, and weaponry of highly-trained marines and, vitally, land them ashore wherever they’re needed.

For the Netherlands, this involves one class of ship for which both amphibious transport ships and the four patrol ships will have to make way. The new ships are due to enter service around 2035.

It means that the amphibious transport ships HNLMS Johan de Witt and HNLMS Rotterdam will disappear from the inventory. By then, they will have lasted more than thirty years and will be at the end of their service life. Furthermore, Defence eventually plans to also replace His Majesty’s ships Holland, Friesland, Zeeland and Groningen.

The UK’s future Multi Role Support Ships will be designed to operate in amphibious task groups – known as Littoral Response Groups, which are able to rapidly deploy and react to crises around the world.

Also read: SWZ|Maritime’s May 2023 navy special: New fleet for the Royal Netherlands Navy

Threats and developments

The transition to the intended amphibious ships is tailored to new threats and developments. This applies to both the Netherlands and the UK.

Any cooperation will certainly benefit the United Kingdom/Netherlands Amphibious Force. This amphibious force has been formed by British and Dutch marines for fifty years now. Both ministers recorded on 30 June that this cooperation will continue in the coming years.

Cartlidge and Ollongren placed their signatures to both declarations on board the British amphibious transport ship HMS Albion. This vessel was in the port of Den Helder because of the Navy Days.

Picture: Tugs help Albion berth in Den Helder with HNLMS Karel Doorman foreground left (photo by the Royal Navy).

Also read: Dutch navy gets twenty new landing craft