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DSEI 2023: UK, Netherlands set timeline for decision on amphibious ship collaboration

HNLMS Rotterdam is one of the vessels that could potentially be replaced by a common UK/Netherlands amphibious ship. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

The UK and the Netherlands will decide at the start of 2024 if there is sufficient alignment in their respective replacement amphibious ship programmes to pursue a joint acquisition programme.

Up to 12 new ships could be required to replace existing vessels in the Royal Navy (RN) and the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) from the early 2030s.

Both the RN and the RNLN have been developing requirements for new amphibious/littoral support shipping. The former has stated a requirement for up to six Multi Role Support Ships (MRSSs) to replace the two Albion-class landing platform dock (LPD) vessels, three Bay-class landing ship dock (auxiliary) vessels, and the primary casualty receiving ship RFA Argus. The RNLN's LPX programme is looking at a multirole capability that would replace the LPDs HNLMS Rotterdam and HNLMS Johan de Witt in the amphibious role while also assuming the patrol and surveillance tasks currently performed by the navy's four Holland-class patrol vessels.

In late June the UK and the Netherlands signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) to explore opportunities to develop a common littoral strike platform to address both the MRSS and LPX requirements. Under this SOI, the partner nations are working together to understand respective joint requirements and expected timelines for the MRSS and LPX programmes.

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