SWZ|Maritime’s June special about Dutch naval shipbuilding is here

What the new Dutch frigates will look like and who will build our new submarines is still unclear, but the decisions about this are expected within the next few years. Still, the authors in SWZ|Maritime’s June navy special can say something interesting about the technology needed.

As a seagoing nation of traders and fishermen, the Dutch have a long tradition of defending their interests with warships of their own build. Again and again in history, nations are forced to defend themselves. And guess what, this takes both money and knowledge.

Since the Dutch formed their own independent republic, they had to defend themselves on land, but also on the seas. However, especially when ships are purposely built for warfare, they are always considered too expensive. So, time and again, rulers and politicians have sought to save on the expenses for the Dutch navy. The last rigorous austerity operation of Minister of Defence Hans Hillen in 2011 is only the last in a long tradition of decisions that severely restrict the ability to defend our interests.

The Dutch admiral Michiel Adriaenszoon de Ruyter was sent on his last battle with old ships as the irresponsible rulers of that time had refused to invest timely in modernising the fleet. And in recent times with Hillen, and the ones who supported him, they forgot that we soon needed the navy again to defend our interests by safeguarding our fleet and battling pirates, coke-smugglers and crazy dictators in South America.

The other misconception is that a navy, and building warships for it, only costs money. That might have been the case in the seventeenth and eighteenth century when warships were rarely built for other nations. Yet, already in the nineteenth and certainly the twentieth century, the Dutch shipbuilders have proven they can build excellent warships for befriended navies.

By taking over the naval yard in Vlissingen and building sites in Romania, Damen has proven that it can perfectly build modern warships for export. Yet, building ships for our own Royal Netherlands Navy is always the basis. So, to keep up our export, we also have to develop and build ships for our own navy.

From his network, our naval specialist Jaap Huisman has again succeeded in collecting a fine selection of interesting articles about the future of the Dutch navy. I would especially recommend the article of TNO-staff member Jeroen de Jonge about technological developments, which has also been published in English on our website.

This is Antoon Oosting’s editorial accompanying the navy special. Read the June issue here.

Picture: Artist impression of the new German MKS-180 frigate that Damen, together with partner Lürssen, will be building for the German Navy. This may also form a basis for the design of the new frigates for the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Author: Antoon Oosting, editor-in-chief SWZ|Maritime