3 April 2023 – [Dutch] Defense is strengthening the firepower of the armed forces. This is done through the purchase of rocket artillery for the Army and long-range weapons for the Navy and Air Force. These systems can hit targets with great precision and power over longer distances. This is what State Secretary Christophe van der Maat writes to the House of Representatives today.
Rocket artillery allows Army units to take out enemy targets with precision. This includes air defense and fire support systems, headquarters and logistics hubs. With long-range weapons, naval ships are able to take out targets in an opponent’s backcountry. At present, Dutch naval vessels do not have armaments that are powerful enough and reach far enough to disable bunkers, for example. The Netherlands does not have such capabilities from the air either. The F-35 has armament for combating ground targets that are relatively close. However, the F-35 cannot attack targets far in the hinterland of an opponent if they have a strong air defense. This requires long range armament. They will therefore be equipped with long-range armament.
Van der Maat: “The war in Ukraine shows once again that fire support over short, medium and long range is essential. This applies on land, from the air and from the sea. With the new systems, the Ministry of Defense further substantiates NATO’s common combat power and deterrence. This shows that the Netherlands is taking responsibility by making a strong contribution to this. In addition, the Netherlands thus meets the wish to possess its own rocket artillery and long-range weapon, as described in the Defense Policy Document 2022.”
The Army will have access to the Israeli PULS (Precise and Universal Launch System) system this year. As a result, Defense will have its own rocket artillery for the first time in years. This is necessary for effective ground-based fire support, because it reaches further, has larger payloads and can reach its target faster than current fire support means. The Dutch fire support currently has armored howitzers that can shoot up to 50 kilometers away.
The research phase for the system showed that there are 2 systems that meet the Dutch requirements: the HIMARS system and the PULS system. The PULS system distinguishes itself in various areas. Compared to the American HIMARS system, it can carry more missiles. It is also possible to purchase more rockets within budget and they are available earlier. In addition, PULS will be suitable for ammunition from European manufacturers in the future.
A partner such as Denmark is also purchasing the PULS system, while Germany is also interested. This offers prospects for international cooperation in order to increase European autonomy.
American Tomahawk long-range weapons have been chosen for the Navy’s LC frigates and submarines. This weapon can be launched from an air defense and command frigate (LC frigate) as well as a submarine. It has a range of more than 1,000 kilometers. After launch, the user can direct the Tomahawk to follow a different route to the target or assign a different target. The American and British navies, among others, use the Tomahawk.
American-made armaments have also been chosen for the F-35, specifically the JASSM-ER (Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missile-Extended Range). This weapon also has a range of about 1,000 kilometers. The US and Australian air forces are already using it. In Europe, Germany, Finland and Poland are also purchasing the JASSM-ER.
The naval and Air Force weapons have stealth capabilities, precision guidance and a suitable explosive charge to take out well-protected targets. By purchasing these types of weapons for the LC frigates, the submarines and the F-35s, the Netherlands will have the flexibility and strength needed to be successful during deployment.
Source Netherlands MoD
Unofficial translation by EDR On-Line
Image courtesy Netherlands MoD