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The acquisition of four submarines by the Dutch Navy is becoming clearer


The Hague is preparing to appoint the two candidates who will remain in the running for this contract estimated at some 3.5 billion. The French Naval Group would keep his chances. The signing of the agreement with a single builder is planned for 2022.


The acquisition of four submarines by the Dutch Navy is becoming clearer 925 001 Walrus-class submarine Bruinvis, last of the class (Picture source: Navy Recognition)


Announced a year ago, the purchase of four submarines by the Dutch Navy to replace its former Walrus-class ships is taking shape. A new stage will soon be reached in The Hague, where we enter the last phase of the competition for this contract estimated between 2.5 and 3.5 billion euros.

The prospect of signing firm orders is therefore postponed by one year to 2022, while the official calendar still provides the delivery of the first submarine from 2027. According to the Ministry of Defense, only two out of four candidates in the running should be retained.

If we believe the Dutch press, the joint offer of the Dutch shipyards Damen and Swedish Saab would hold the rope to enter the next round of negotiations. In response to employee and employer unions demanding job creation in the Netherlands, this consortium has promised to provide a workload equivalent to 15,000 jobs for one year.

In front of the national manufacturer, the French group Naval Group has teamed up with the Dutch shipyard Royal IHC, specialized in off-shore construction, to increase its chances of being among the two manufacturers chosen by the Netherlands, and thus promises also a significant part of production in the Netherlands. Always in the pipeline, Naval Group is proposing an adapted version of the oceanic submarine Barracuda currently under construction for the French Navy.

But the German TKMS, who has already won a tender for four submarines in Norway, will put his experience and a series effect to stay in the race. Even though the German shipyard seems today in difficulty in the face of uncertainties about its parent company. By inference, the Spanish group Navantia who had put himself in the ranks is the one who has the least chance of being selected for the final race.

The Walrus-class submarines are unusual in that instead of a cross-shaped assembly of stern diving planes and rudders, they mount four combined rudders and diving planes in an "X" configuration. This tail configuration was first tested in 1960 on the United States Navy's USS Albacore and has since been used by the Walrus class, all Swedish Navy submarines since the Sjöormen class, the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class, the German Type 212A and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Sōryū class. The X configuration is a complex system and therefore not in use by a lot of navies around the world.

The submarines of the Walrus-class are invisible when submerged, silent and therefore difficult to detect by ships, planes and other submarines once they go into hiding. This makes the boats very suitable for the combatting surface vessels and submarines, the protection of own units, information gathering, and early warning, and supporting of special operations. The submarines can also be used to enforce international sanctions, as they did during the Yugoslav Wars.