On 30 November 2016, Dutch Defence Minister Hennis-Plasschaert and her Belgian counterpart Steven Vandeput, signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to cooperate in naval replacement projects.
The LOI focuses on research, development, procurement and maintenance for the replacement of the type M combat frigates and mine countermeasure capacity.
Together with knowledge institutes TNO and Marin, they will most likely play a role during the preparation and implementation phases of the projects. The corresponding political decision-making process is now expected to accelerate in both parliaments since today’s type M frigates and minehunters will reach the end of their life expectancy starting in the next decennium.
The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) operate the frigates Zr.Ms. Van Speijk and Zr.Ms. Van Amstel frigates, while the Belgian Naval Component fields BNS Leopold I and Louise-Marie units. The Belgian ships were formerly in service with the RNLN.