Historical turn Dutch army: billions extra to spend | Internal

Extra fighter jets, armed drones, long-range missiles on frigates and a land force that renews almost everything that moves. The war in Ukraine caused a historic turn in the Dutch army. After years of savings, military personnel are now allowed to spend billions more.

The armored howitzers that were stored as a reserve are dusted off and prepared for use. © Minister of Defense

In addition to many new weapons, the staff will also earn significantly more, and storage bunkers will have to be filled to the brim with ammunition, food and fuel, as can be concluded from the new defense memorandum presented by Defense Minister Ollongren today. Lack of spare parts is eliminated, medical devices are better equipped and computers are renewed. “We are rolling up our sleeves … The defense must be able to win today’s and tomorrow’s war,” the report reads.

A lot of money is spent on strengthening the fighting force and specialized units. This should allow them to be sent on missions more often. Eg. Commanders and Marines get more help from the engineers, from medical teams, intelligence officers and the explosives service. The Air Mobile Brigade releases a battalion to support them, and a new team of brand new helicopters arrives, specializing exclusively in moving the special forces. There will also be more money to practice on.

The armored howitzers that are now in reserve – five of which have already been donated to Ukraine recently – are being dusted off and prepared for use. The armed forces also procure rocket artillery, with which the enemy can be hit at even greater distances.

The air defense on land and at sea needs to be improved. The Navy can buy new long-range missiles that can also be fired from frigates and submarines. The Air Force will receive six additional fighter jets of the latest generation, the F-35. That brings the total to 52, which means that 3 squadrons can be flown instead of the current 2. They are also equipped with new weapons for long distances and better precision.

The Air Force can buy four more unmanned aircraft in addition to the four they recently purchased. In addition, they are allowed to arm the drones, something that has long been a thorn in politics. Extra money is also being set aside to better repel attacks with enemy drones, a growing threat.

Space will play a more prominent role in the armed forces of the future. The first nano-satellite was launched last year. If it stands to the Air Force, many more small satellites will go into space to keep track of what’s going on there, to communicate securely with devices and to observe the Earth.

More attractive employer

Unoccupied vacancies have been a problem in the armed forces for years. About 9000 seats have not been filled. The Armed Forces hopes to once again become an attractive employer with a wage increase of 8.5 percent. The supplements go up, so especially soldiers in lower ranks can earn up to 20 percent more. Soldiers will also have a faster career in the future, so they will get paid higher faster than now.

According to the Minister of Defense, there will be even better cooperation with other European countries. In particular, the land forces will work even more closely with Germany and the plan is ultimately to complement each other as much as possible. For example, Germany supplies tanks, the Netherlands supplies artillery. Where possible, goods are purchased as far as possible with other countries and shared.

See also the documentary series ‘Mission F-16’ on our page, where you get a look behind the scenes of the Air Force:

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