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Netherlands set to buy Tomahawk cruise missile for maritime strike

The RNLN plans to procure surface- and submarine-launched Tomahawk missiles. (Raytheon Aircraft Company)

The Netherlands has revealed plans to procure the Tomahawk land attack cruise missile from the US government, with deployment planned from both frigates and submarines.

Forming part of a broader investment in air and maritime strike capabilities, the planned procurement will make the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) only the second naval service in Europe to introduce the Tomahawk into service. A proof of concept firing from a De Zeven Provinciën-class air-defence and command frigate (LCF) could occur as early as next year.

State Secretary for Defence Christophe van der Maat detailed plans to acquire a maritime strike capability in a 3 April letter to the Dutch House of Representatives. In this so-called ‘A' letter – a document which outlines the analysis of requirements – he said that the Netherlands Ministry of Defence (MoD) had determined that a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US government represented the only viable option to deliver the capability required.

According to van der Maat, the Maritime Strike Acquisition programme will see the Tomahawk initially acquired to equip the RNLN's four LCF frigates, and two of the service's four Walrus-class submarines. “In the course of the [2030s], the four replacement frigates and four replacement submarines [will also receive] Tomahawk,” he added.

Manufactured by Raytheon, the Tomahawk missile has a range of over 1,000 km and can be re-targeted in flight, should the mission priority change. Current RGM-109E/UGM-109E Tomahawk Block IV rounds are being progressively recertified and upgraded to Block V standard for the US Navy (USN) and the UK Royal Navy (RN); Raytheon is also manufacturing newbuild Block V missiles.

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