The UK and Netherlands agree to explore opportunities to develop a future littoral strike platform, providing future capability to both nations’ Commando Forces. Signed by U.K Defence Minister James Cartlidge and Dutch Defence Minister Kajsa Ollongren in Den Helder, on the 50th anniversary of the Joint Amphibious Force, both nations also agreed to further collaboration on amphibious exercises and training in future. Future UK Multi Role Support Ships (MRSS) will be equipped with a sea to land strike capability, designed to operate in amphibious task groups – known as Littoral Response Groups – helping highly-trained Marines to deploy to crises globally, fully equipped with their vehicles, boats, aircraft, and weaponry. Today’s Statement of Intent will see the partner nations working together to understand respective joint requirements and expected timelines for the UK MRSS and Dutch Landing Platform, to help assess whether a collaborative procurement programme would be mutually beneficial.
First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, said:” This year is a particularly special one to be in Den Helder alongside our Dutch friends, celebrating both Navy Days and the signing 50 years ago of an agreement that has enabled our amphibious forces to train, exercise and deploy together. It has resulted in our closest and most significant amphibious relationship. I am delighted that our nations have today signed an agreement to deepen this through further exercises and training but most significantly, to pursue the next generation of littoral strike ships, setting the stage for the next 50 years of our cooperation.”
Minister for Defence Procurement, James Cartlidge, said:”To remain a truly global military, we must procure the right equipment at the right time for our Armed Forces. The future Multi Role Support Ships will ensure the Royal Marines can continue to deploy overseas fully equipped at short notice. We are very proud to be working closely with our Dutch allies on assessing future procurement options, as well as building on the strong foundation of our 50-year partnership to enhance our collective readiness.”
The Royal Navy’s amphibious flagship, HMS Albion, played host to events around the announcement, which included the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two nations. In a revitalisation of the original MoU from 1973, the UK and Dutch agreed to grow the relationship between the two navies and marine forces, continuing to work together in an interoperable force at the forefront of NATO’s maritime response. UK and Netherlands forces have worked continually together for more than 50 years with the UN, NATO and Joint Expeditionary Force and, in the current global climate, this strong relationship is more relevant than ever. Recently, both countries announced a partnership with the US and Denmark to deliver high priority air defence equipment to Ukraine, addressing its most urgent air defence requirements as Russia continues its illegal invasion.