THE HAGUE --- The defence ministry has to find over 300 million euros of extra savings. The Dutch navy's biggest vessel, currently being built n Vlissingen will be sold before it is commissioned, Trouw newspaper reported Wednesday.
The scrapping of the logistics support ship, which was to be the biggest and tallest ship in the Dutch navy, is part of a 330 million euro pruning operation, according to the paper. Where the navy gives up a ship, an entire battalion will be scrapped in the army.
The air force will also have to make do with six or seven fewer F16 fighter aircraft. At the same time, the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft is being chosen as the successor to this fleet. The number of JSFs will depend on the price. A ceiling of 4 billion euros will apply to the total order.
These measures, to be announced on Prince's Day (17 September), are on top of the 1 billion euros in cutbacks that Defence had already been saddled with earlier. As part of this, 12,000 jobs will be lost, mostly in the higher echelons.
According to Trouw, while the Karel Doorman (which will cost over 400 million euros), is being sold, at the same time, a new but smaller and cheaper supply ship will be built. HMS Amsterdam (commissioned in 1995), now sailing in the Caribbean, will also have to remain in service longer than planned.
The navy will also have to sacrifice a company, which involves 180 to 200 people. Which battalion will be scrapped is not yet clear. It could be one of the four armoured infantry battalions, possibly one of the two stationed in Havelte.
The scrapping of a battalion costs between 600 and 650 jobs. Additionally, the pruning of support services is to yield savings of 40 million euros.