Netherlands - Country Commercial Guide
Defense Isdustry
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The Netherlands defense budget is $15.2 billion in 2023. Projected defense spending is expected to exceed $20 billion in 2024 and 2025. Program opportunities are outlined in the 2022 defense white papers laid out by the Ministry of Defense, which listed the top five Dutch defense priorities: increasing deployment stocks; reinforcing the air transport capability; reinforcing the medical chain; expanding fire support capabilities; expanding intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities. 

Leading Sub-Sectors 

The Netherlands has numerous contracts with U.S. companies in defense technology. As a result of the increased defense budget, there are many opportunities for military exports to the Air Force, Navy, Army, Special Operational Units, the Military Police, and the military Cyber Unit 


Future military opportunities are normally outlined in the Dutch Ministry of Defense’s Program Overview (DPO).  An English version of the DPO is available on request from the Commercial Service at the U.S. Embassy in the Netherlands. The 2022 Defense White Paper offers a more precise overview of all the opportunities between 2022 through 2027 and beyond. In light of the large number of programs on the horizon, companies are advised to review the 2022 White Paper.  Key opportunities are listed in the following fields: 

Royal Netherlands Navy:  Will increase its striking power partly by introducing long-range missiles for frigates and submarines.  It will expand its air defense capability against ballistic and supersonic air threats and increase the Marine Corps’ striking power by introducing modern long-range fire support, tactical air defense weapons and unmanned systems.  In an international context, the RNLN will also reinforce its space and cyberspace capabilities. Ten auxiliary vessels will be replaced by eight new ships, and the amphibious transport ships and four patrol vessels will be replaced by one type of ship suitable for conducting amphibious operations and maritime patrols and for providing emergency assistance.  The additional budget for personnel and training, sustainment and spare parts, deployment stocks and ammunition will boost deployability. 

Royal Netherlands Army:  Besides improving individual military equipment, the RNLA will upgrade or replace almost everything that runs on wheels or tracks, including its four main weapon systems:  the CV-90, the Fennek, the PzH2000 self-propelled howitzer, and the Boxer. It is also consolidating its ground-based air defense capability. Operational wheeled vehicles will be replaced with cleaner, multifunctional variants with improved off-road performance and better protection. Joint investments with commercial partners and knowledge institutes will target the development of autonomous systems, robots and other forms of advanced combat technology in order to ensure that the RNLA is future-proof and automation is optimized. 

Royal Netherlands Air Force:  The RNLAF is establishing a fully manned third F-35 squadron and exploring future possibilities with respect to unmanned fighter aircraft.  Its investments in high-value ammunition will enable it to deploy long-range weapons and suppress or eliminate hostile integrated air defense systems. It will also double its MQ-9 capability in the coming years to eight to allow simultaneous deployment over two axes. Furthermore, the MQ-9 will also be armed and its signals intelligence, maritime surveillance and communication systems will be improved. The Cougar squadron will be reinforced with a view to supporting special operations, and its Cougar helicopters will eventually be replaced with medium utility helicopters intended to support special operations on land and at sea.  Investments will be made in modern electronic self-protection for all helicopter types, and the capabilities of combat and transport helicopters will be adapted to meet the new requirements for land and maritime operations. The C-130 will be replaced, allowing the Netherlands to retain its tactical airlift capability while increasing its availability and range, and one extra aircraft will be added to this fleet.  The development of the Defense Space Security Centre will continue, and it will include the creation of a satellite constellation and the adaptation of existing radars for space observation. This will enable the Netherlands to build a military space capability that will open the way to smart and effective international cooperation. 

The 2022 White Paper also includes an overview of opportunities for the Military Police, Defense Cyber Command, Special Operations Forces, Joint Support Command, and the Defense Materiel Organization.  The White Paper annex includes an extensive list of programs. 


Market Analyses: Global Aerospace Resource Guide 2020 

Dutch Defense White Paper 2022 

Trade Shows 

NIDV Exhibition Defense and Security (NEDS) 

November 29-30, 2023 


The Netherlands Defense Manufacturers Association (NIDV) 

The Netherlands Aerospace Group (NAG) 


Contact: Natasha Keylard, Commercial Specialist                                    

U.S. Commercial Service – The Netherlands| +31 70 310 2279