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Netherlands outlines national route for new amphibious transport ship class

The Netherlands is planning for a new class of amphibious transport ship to be delivered from 2032 to replace two LPDs and four patrol ships. Attendant work will examine if HNLMS Rotterdam (pictured) can be extended in service beyond its current 2028 out-of-service date until the first replacement vessel is ready. (Richard Scott/NAVYPIX)

The UK and the Netherlands have dropped the idea of developing a future joint amphibious ship design but instead will look to engineer maximum interoperability and equipment commonality in their planned next-generation platforms.

Dutch State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat revealed the decision in an A-letter briefing paper sent to the House of Representatives of the Netherlands on 6 March, in which he outlined plans for a new class of amphibious transport ships (ATSs).

The UK and the Netherlands have maintained a strong relationship in amphibious warfare dating back to 1973. In June last year, as part of a 50th anniversary reaffirmation of the partnership, the two governments signed a statement of intent (SoI) to explore opportunities to develop a common littoral strike platform to address both the UK Multi Role Support Ship (MRSS) and Dutch LPX (now ATS) requirements. Under this SoI, the partner countries sought to align the requirements and timelines for their respective replacement programmes.

The MRSS requirement calls for up to six vessels 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 from the early 2030s. The ATS programme is looking at a multirole capability to replace the LPDs HNLMS Rotterdam and HNLMS Johan de Witt

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