Israeli arms exports, imports and military cooperation with the Netherlands

( Here this text in Dutch) In the spring of 2022 the Netherlands provided the only license that year for the export of military products to Israel larger than €10 million of “parts guided projectiles and missile engines.” There was only one other license of a meagre €75.000 for the export of technology for AT-missiles (probably they are both for Spike missiles). On the aspect of dual use exports in 2022 there are two remarkable sets of similar products exported: optical technology (to observe in and around wildlife parks, many are close to the West-Bank) and exports of semiconductor technology.

Dutch military transit in the period 2020-2022 contains only one example of a Israel related transport. It is a shipment of about 680,000 7.62mm bullets from Israel to the United States, passing the Dutch harbour of Rotterdam in September 2020. In February 2021, the Dutch government provided a transit license for ammunition of mixed calibres from the US to Israel, value €600,000 .

Military cooperation however is much larger. Bagira produces simulation for training. The Bagira website states the company “works in collaboration with Van Halteren Metaal Defence,” a Dutch civil military company. Products go both ways: howitzer training (a collaboration in 2012 still prevented by the Dutch government but apparently now allowed), the common development of a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) training center and the sale of Fire Support simulation used a few years ago in Dutch army camp ’t Harde in an excersise with Germany and Belgium.

Simulation scenario’s are based on real live operations: “An operation in the heart of Gaza, a patrol along the Lebanese border, a West Bank roadblock, and an extrication mission from deep behind enemy lines – the simulators at the IDF [Israeli Defence Force] Ground Training Center at the Tze’elim base prepare IDF commanders for various combat scenarios from the comfort of an air-conditioned room,” brags an article on military simulation by Bagira under the title ‘As Close as it Gets to Enemy Territory.’ The cooperation can be seen in the reports on military export licenses as temporarily exported simulation technology.

Vehicles and counter drone technology
In 2021 BAE Systems Hägglunds involved Israel’s Elbit Systems in the mid-life upgrade of Dutch CV90 armoured vehicles.

Recently Dutch armed forces ordered a system against small, low flying drones to be added on standard assault rifles. The Israeli company Smart Shooter advertised it as “combat-proven”. In 2021 Elbit won a €21.9 million contract for vehicular tactical computers for the Dutch army.

Elbit Woensdrecht
Elbit Systems of America is a full daughter company of the Israeli arms company. Since 2011 it has a branch based at Logistiek Centrum Woensdrecht. Elbit uses the location to maintain F-16 fighter jets and also the F-35. The activities still grow: “Our portfolio for special mission aircraft services and solutions is constantly expanding. By combining our maintenance expertise with Elbit Systems’ advanced military flight training capabilities, we offer defence customers a complete solution,” Roland van Dijk, Co-CEO of Fokker Services Group said late 2022.

Elbit rocket launcers

In april 2023 the Dutch Ministry of Defence annnounced the purchase of PULS Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS) from Israeli defence company Elbit Systems. The system is chosen over the American HIMARS beacuse it can carry more missiles, is available earlier and make it possible to purchase more rockets with the budget. Other European countries like Denmark and probably Germany will also buy the Israeli system, which offers possibilities fur future cooperation on European-made ammunition.

See for the last report by Stop Wapenhandel on Dutch Israeli defence industrial relations Combat proven Nederlandse militaire relaties met Israël, Stop Wapenhandel June 20216.(English Summary: Combat proven – Military reations between Israel and the Netherlands.)

Martin Broek May 2022