This leaves Spanish shipbuilder Navantia out of the race. The competition now enters a “knock-out” phase, with the contract award (D-Letter) expected some time around 2022.
Dutch State Secretary Visser sent the B-Letter (which can be read in full and in Dutch language at this link) to the House today.
The Dutch MOD has opted for a long range, versatile, conventional submarine. The future 4 new boats must be able to operate for a long time, unseen and at a great distance from their home base. Since none of the candidate yards came forward as unanimous winner in the survey, the Defensie Materieel Organisatie DMO will continue the competitive process with Naval Group, Saab Kockums and tkMS. In the next phase (C-Letter), the requirements, award criteria and weighting factors are determined, based on factors such as best boat for the best price, risk management and the elaboration of national security interests and strategic autonomy which will drive the capability requirements of the future submarines.
For the design, construction and maintenance, the Netherlands attaches great importance to the involvement of the Dutch naval construction cluster, including SMEs and knowledge institutes.
“The Dutch naval construction sector must obtain the best possible position in the supply chains of foreign shipyards. A good position as a supplier offers Dutch companies and knowledge institutes the opportunity to increase their own knowledge and skills, from which the Defense organization also benefits. ”
Dutch State Secretary Visser
Because of this important factor, Naval Group of France teamed up with local shipbuilder Royal IHC, Saab of Sweden teamed up with local shipbuilder Damen and TKMS of Germany teamed up with the maintenance site of the Royal Netherlands Navy in the Den Helder naval base.
The importance of submarines
Submarines are of direct importance for the seafaring trade nation of the Netherlands. The most important characteristic is that they are almost impossible to find under water. This makes the submarine extremely suitable for protecting the supply lines by sea, naval vessels and maritime infrastructure. This also applies to detecting and eliminating enemy ships, depositing and picking up special forces and gathering, analyzing and sharing intelligence.
“This maritime power makes the submarine one of our most important weapon systems. The Dutch submarine service is highly regarded worldwide with the Walrus class. That is why the Netherlands wants to replace the ships now that the end of their life is approaching. NATO is also pushing for this. Submarines are an important and much-needed niche capacity. ”
Dutch State Secretary Visser
Walrus replacement schedule
The current submarines (Walrus class) have been in use by the Royal Netherlands Navy since the 1990s and will reach the end of their life span in about 10 years. The project involves more than 2.5 billion euros. According to the current schedule, a contract must be signed in 2022 with 1 of the shortlisted shipbuilders. Ultimately, the new submarines must have completely replaced the current Walrus class in 2031.