The cabinet will not opt for the American Himars, the missile system that has proven itself in Ukraine. The Netherlands is buying the Israeli Puls system for more than 500 million euros. This will be available sooner and will eventually be able to launch European missiles.
The cabinet already announced last October that the Netherlands is purchasing rocket artillery again for the first time in almost two decades. For a long time it seemed that the Netherlands was ahead of the American High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (Himars) would choose. Last month, the Americans already gave permission for exports worth more than 600 million euros, but Secretary of State Christophe van der Maat already emphasized that no signatures had yet been signed.
The Himars made a name for itself last year after the Americans delivered twenty Himars systems to Ukraine last summer. This allowed the Ukrainian armed forces to deal heavy blows to the Russian troops. This missile system, it was said, managed to stop the Russian advance.
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Nevertheless, the Dutch choice did not fall on the Himars of aircraft manufacturer Lockheed Martin, but on a system from Israel: Puls, built by manufacturer Elbit. According to Secretary of State for Defense Christophe van der Maat, who is announcing the choice today in a letter to the House of Representatives, that system can be delivered from the end of this year. The American Himars had a ‘significant’ longer wait, until 2027.
In addition, the Puls can also launch European-made missiles ‘in the long term’. ‘This contributes to an increase in European strategic autonomy,’ writes Van der Maat. The Americans won’t allow that, the Himars can only fire American missiles. Defense should also have purchased separate trucks on which the Himars could be placed. The Puls system can be placed on vehicles already used by the armed forces.
There are also disadvantages, writes Van der Maat. Other European countries such as Romania, Poland and Lithuania have already opted for the Himars. For the cooperation, Defense prefers to use the same material as much as possible. The Puls system was recently purchased by Denmark and Germany is also said to be interested. There is therefore, according to Van der Maat, ‘perspectives of European cooperation with Puls’.
Van der Maat also announced today that the Dutch navy’s submarines and frigates will be armed with cruise missiles. Here the government has opted for the American Tomahawk and not for a French or French/British cruise missile. The Tomahawk is the only one with a range of 1000 kilometers, which was the deciding factor. The purchase of the cruise missiles involves between 1 and 2.5 billion euros.
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