AMSTERDAM, Oct 19 (Reuters) – The Dutch government will invest up to 3.5 billion euros ($3.44 billion) in military procurement, the defence ministry said, in a policy turnaround in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
After years of declining spending, the Dutch military will purchase between 2023 and 2026 a rocket artillery system and 10 howitzer cannons for up to 1 billion euros.
The Netherlands will also purchase a mobile air defence system for up to 2.5 billion euros, Junior Defence Minister Christophe van der Maat wrote in a letter to parliament.
“The war on the European continent underlines the need to be able to act in all parts of the spectrum of violence,” he said.
The Netherlands has not had rocket artillery since 2004, when cuts in the defence budget led to the sale of the system to Finland.
The new mobile air defence system is intended to improve defence against threats from enemy helicopters, aircraft, drones and cruise missiles, Van der Maat said.
The Feb. 24 invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation”, has raised security fears among other NATO countries. Poland is set to buy rocket artillery systems from South Korea.
The Dutch government said in June it would invest more in the military so that its defence budget would reach the NATO target of a minimum of 2% of GDP. In fulfillment of that, Dutch spending will be 2.03% in 2024 and 2.01% in 2025.
($1 = 1.0180 euros)
(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout, Editing by Angus MacSwan)
Photo: Koninklijke Landmacht