The A class was based on a German design used during the First World War. All ships of the A class were built between 1928 and 1930 at Willemsoord, Den Helder. All four ships were commissioned on 4 August 1930, and two days later, on 6 August 1930, all four sailed to the Dutch East Indies, arriving at Surabaya on 30 October 1930.
During the Japanese invasion of March 1942 all four ships were scuttled by their crews. Three of the ships, A, B and C, were salvaged and put into service with the Imperial Japanese Navy as auxiliary submarine chasers no. 113, 112 and 116. All were sunk by US forces in 1944–1945.