October 1, 2022

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Criticism from Belgium of the Dutch frigate program

Criticism from Belgium of the Dutch frigate program

For the first time, a Belgian newspaper expressed concerns about the Dutch-Belgian frigate program. In recent weeks, the anti-submarine frigate has been discussed several times in the Belgian parliament, because frigates have become larger and more expensive. According to the Belgian newspaper De Standard, the cost of the new frigates will be 700 million euros.


The Belgian frigate BNS Louise Marie in Den Helder harbor. The ship was put into service with the Dutch Navy in 1991 as Hr.Ms. Willem van der Zaan and sold to Belgium in 2008. This ship, along with other Dutch and Belgian frigates, will be replaced by the ASW frigates being built by Damen. (Photo: Jaime Kariman/MarineShips.nl)

The project to replace the two Belgian frigates and the two Dutch M-class frigates is now in the negotiation stage, following a design modification earlier this year. D-Standard described the problem last week As a “buoyancy problem”, according to Belgian MP Peter Baysrog (N-VA), ships of the current design will sink. The ships had to be larger because the smaller version chosen in 2019 was not enough to accommodate all the requirements and desires of each of the navies. There was not enough space for future updates.

It is known that frigates have become more expensive, but the amount used is not yet known. A source from De Standaard talks about an additional 700 million for the total project. But the Dutch Defense Materiel Organization (DMO) does not confirm this: “We don’t admit it. The Belgians are considering compromising their budget to have the same weapons system as the Dutch,” a DMO spokesperson wrote after questions from MarineShips.nl, referring to an article written earlier. On this site about ASWF. “Everything is properly stated there.”

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For Belgium, every price adjustment is very difficult because the budget is set in a law. Although in the past Dutch naval vessels were often cheaper than similar vessels overseas, the difference was now quite large from the start.

In addition to criticism of new construction, there is also resentment in Belgium over ship maintenance, according to De Standaard; For fear of the availability of ships. It will also be interesting every year, “also to the Dutch”, about maintenance. The article mentions Damen, but the Dutch and Belgian frigates are maintained by the Directorate for Conservation of Materials (DMI) in Den Helder. DMI has yet to respond to the critical note from Belgium.


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