In early 2016 the Netherlands and Germany agreed to a naval collaboration program that will involve German sailors helping the Dutch overcome a personnel shortage. Germany would provide German sailors that the Dutch would train to work on new Dutch ships which have been operating reduced capacity because the Dutch could not provide full crews. In return the Germans will share use of these ships with the Dutch. The largest ship involved is the new Dutch replenishment ships, the Karel Doorman, which entered service in 2015 but will only be completely functional once German sailors are trained to fill out the crew of 300.
The Karel Doorman is a 28,000 ship that carries fuel, ammunition and other supplies for peacekeeping or disaster relief missions worldwide. The ship carries six medium (NH90 or CH-47) helicopters plus landing craft. Defensive weapons consist of two Goalkeeper seven barrel 30mm autocannon for defense against anti-ship missiles and aircraft. There are also two 30mm cannon for use against surface targets plus a dozen smaller caliber (12.7mm and 7.62mm) machine-guns. There is also a hospital onboard with two operating rooms and ten treatment areas. The ship has communications and other electronics needed for a command center to provide an offshore headquarters for a peacekeeping or relief missions ashore. The ship can travel up to 18,000 kilometers (at 22 kilometers an hour) on internal fuel. Half the crew handle the helicopters, hospital, landing craft and other support functions. Because of budget cuts Germany had to cancel plans to build two ships similar to the Karel Doorman.
Germany is also making its “Sea Battalion” available to the Dutch for joint operations. This battalion has 800 security personnel, combat divers and other amphibious specialists. The Dutch marines will also work with their German counterparts on joint operations. In 2015 the Netherlands agree to provide a combat brigade for a largely German multinational Armored Division. In 2014 the Netherlands contributed their 11th Air Mobile Brigade to a largely German rapid reaction force.