Germany and the Netherlands sign Joint Support Ship LOI

German minister Ursula von der Leyen, left, and Dutch minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, right. Image: 2016 Bundeswehr / Kristina Gura/Presse- und Informationszentrum Marine

The Letter of Intent, signed February 4 between the Netherlands and Germany, breaks the ground for the development of the Joint Support Ship initiative and the amphibious operation capability.

Germany is thereby acquiring new capabilities while the Dutch Navy is enabled to equip its ships more efficiently.

Defence ministers of the two nations signed the LOI on the Dutch Navy ship HNLMS Karel Doorman, in Amsterdam. During the signing ceremony, German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen said: “We are now, in a sense, breaking new ground, when it comes to the integration of defence forces within Europe.”

What the agreement generally entails is that the German Navy will now, in coordination with their Dutch couterparts, be able to use the biggest ship in the Dutch Navy, the HNLMS Karel Dorman (A833). This also means a closer cooperation between German and Dutch marines.

HNLMS Karel Doorman, Image: Dutch Navy
HNLMS Karel Doorman, Image: Dutch Navy

Vice Admiral Andreas Krause, current Inspector of the Navy said: “This is also a “win-win” situation. We obtain capabilities. Our Dutch partners obtain efficiency. And both navies achieve mutual integration on the long way to European armed forces.”

The field of Joint Support Ship is becoming a beacon project of the Dutch-German military cooperation. This cooperation comprises the transport of soldiers and their equipment between land and sea. It particularly relates to mutual use of means of transport, like German Marine-helicopters or the Dutch support ship Karel Doorman, which supports amphibious operations.

The latest LOI is a testament of improved relations between the two countries as the tender ship Donau joined NATO’s Standing Minecountermeasures Group to relieve the Dutch Navy ship Den Helder as the flagship of the group. An additional testament was a Dutch communications officer entering German service in the Navy Base Rostock in November 2015.

“In the end, 3.000 Dutch soldiers will live, work and train with their German counterparts”, concluded von der Leyen.

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