News item | 30-09-2022 | 15:45
Defense has reached an important milestone in the submarine replacement project. The quote request is ready. This application will be sent to the three candidate yards in mid-November 2022. The yards are then expected to send their bids around the summer of 2023. The Ministry of Defense needs a few months to analyze these bids and then make a decision about the award. That is what State Secretary Van der Maat of Defense writes in a letter to the House of Representatives.
Van der Maat: “This is an important project and involves a lot of money. That’s why we didn’t take the time to decide what kind of submarines we want and how much we want to pay for the quote request. In addition, we want the boat to be able to be armed, for the boats to be delivered on time and for the Dutch industry to be involved in construction and maintenance. This milestone heralds the next phase.”
As indicated in the Defense Memorandum 2022, the Defense organization wants to invest in strengthening the armed forces’ clout. The replacement of the submarines, a niche capability within NATO and the EU, is an important part of this. The threat to the eastern flank of the NATO treaty area underlines the importance of NATO partners continuing to invest in their capabilities.
For the navy, Defense is also investing in the purchase of long-range missiles that can be launched from frigates and submarines. The House of Representatives will be further informed about this need in 2023.
The budget for the project has been increased. This extra money is partly reserved in the Defense budget for 2023. The Ministry of Defense has also freed up money by identifying a number of projects from the long-term planning for which the midlife update can be carried out later. Defense considers this acceptable for now, because the effect on operational readiness would be limited. The government believes the project is worth this investment.
Van der Maat: “The submarine is one of our most important strategic weapon systems: they are virtually untraceable and powerful in every phase of conflict. We can therefore use them for many different tasks. Protecting ships, repelling opponents, collecting intelligence and deploying our special forces. The Netherlands and NATO must be able to count on this unique capability.” In the tender request, the Ministry of Defense will stick to 4 units.
Defense wants the yards to involve the Dutch industry in the construction and maintenance of the boats. In this way, the Dutch business community is helped, also on the international market, and employment is created and knowledge is retained. That is why the winning yard will have to conclude an agreement with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate: a so-called industrial cooperation agreement.
The Department of Material Maintenance of the Navy will also have a coordinating role in the maintenance of the new submarines. In this way staff is retained and we can invest in new staff and infrastructure. Den Helder has to become a ‘submarine maintenance valley’.