In a story published on March 2, the Swedish defense company confirmed that the future Expeditionary Submarine production process will see sections made in Karlskrona in Sweden and then assembled in Vlissingen in the Netherlands by Damen. This means joining of pressure hull sections and building of complex platforms and their insertion onto the body of the submarine. Validation and certification phases will also be carried out in Vlissingen. Full life cycle support will be executed in Den Helder, in the North of the Netherlands.
“Replacing the Walrus-class submarines requires a unique approach. Swedish modular submarine design and production techniques coupled with the Dutch shipbuilding tradition bring together the capabilities needed to deliver an assured operational capability”Gunnar Wieslander, Senior Vice President, head of business area Saab Kockums
“The result of the collaboration will be a customer-adapted submarine for expeditionary missions. This will ensure that the Royal Netherlands Navy continues to play an important role in European waters as well as globally”Hein van Ameijden, managing director of Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding.
In addition, the Walrus replacement will also benefit from the operational lessons reflected in the Swedish Navy’s Gotland Mid Life Upgrade. (As a result the Expeditionary Submarine will be equipped with state of the art technology whilst benefiting from de-risking on four submarine classes. Saab and Damen are thereby creating one of the most modern Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines in the world, which if selected by the Royal Netherlands navy, will be done in consultation with the customer using a ‘design to cost’ approach). Being equipped with the Kockums Stirling AIP system means that the future Expeditionary Submarine should be able to operate for long periods of time without having to charge batteries with snorkel systems.
Building on the A26, Saab and Damen jointly designed a 73 meters-long submarine with a displacement of 2,900 tons. It will have six torpedo tubes and a Multi Mission Lock.
In addition to the Saab-Damen team, the other competitors for the Walrus Replacement Programme are France’s Naval Group (along with their local partner Royal IHC), Germany’s TKMS and Spain’s Navantia. Dutch media reports in the past couple of weeks announced that TKMS and Navantia have been dropped from the bid to purchase new submarines for the Royal Netherlands navy. The Dutch government has yet to officialy make an announcement