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 underscores 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.
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'.