Dutch Government to Spend €2.5 Billion on Secure Communications

THE HAGUE — The importance of information operations is growing. This means operational armed forces are able to gather and analyze accurate information faster. In this way, faster and better decisions can be made. With the Foxtrot program, in the first phase, many units are provided with modern tactical communication equipment and IT infrastructure. Minister Kajsa Ollongren briefed the House today on a number of issues within the programme.

All major branches of the Army, Marine Corps battalions, Defense Helicopter Command (DHC) and Military Police participate in the Foxtrot program. Approximately 8,000 vehicles, 3,500 soldiers, 135 vessels and 170 aircraft and helicopters will receive the new means of communication.

One of the largest projects is the modernization of current military radios (software-defined battlenet radios). The armed forces now use several different types of radios. With the new radios, units must be able to communicate with each other smoothly and securely. Not only with each other, but also with international allies. The House was also briefed on the results of the research phase for this so-called Military Transmission Building Block (MTBB).

The Netherlands wants to buy the new radios from the American company L3Harris. This is the only manufacturer that meets all the requirements. In addition, L3Harris can deliver on short notice. Acquisition is done through the US government through so-called foreign military sales.

Foxtrot also focuses on expanding connectivity through civil standards. This applies for example to WiFi, 4G/5G and satellite communication. Supporting applications such as the battlefield management system will also be upgraded.

The modernization of the systems will continue in the coming years. In addition, the defense is preparing vehicles, ships and aircraft to install the resources acquired from Foxtrot. Training and education in areas such as use and maintenance are also included in the program.


In addition to the upgrade, Foxtrot also features a continuous track. That’s because, in the meantime, operations continue as usual. Technically obsolete military communication systems are being modernized without compromising their usability. This applies, for example, to ground/air radios or Marine Corps NIMCIS radios. Therefore, replacement and life extension projects in the continuity rail are closely coordinated with the modernization track. Important principles here are sustainability and efficiency.


Procurement for all projects is carried out “off-the-shelf” as far as possible. This not only provides cost benefits. The delivery time is also shorter and offers better opportunities to integrate the systems with each other. For each project, it is checked whether and how the Dutch defense industry can be involved. Defense is already exploring opportunities for cooperation with the Netherlands Industrial Foundation for Defense and Security (NIVD). Another option is for the military organization to call trusted partner countries.

Requirements for the entire program include up to €2.5 billion. Work on the program is expected to continue until at least 2036. Foxtrot also impacts various ongoing defense replacement and modernization projects. It also has a direct link to the Frontier IT (GrIT) program and the Improved Operational Soldier System (VOSS) project.


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