Norway eyes submarine replacement program

Ula-class submarine Utstein Ula-class submarine Utstein U.S. Navy photo

MARCH 9, 2016 — Norway is looking to replace its Ula-class submarines which will reach the ends of their expected lives in the 2020s.

The six Ula-class submarines were built at the now defunct Nordseewerke Emden AG shipyard in Germany and commissioned between 1989 and 1991.

Norway says it is "working towards establishing an extensive submarine cooperation with other nations in order to reduce cost and secure a robust submarine capability for the future." The Ministry of Defense is currently leading the work of looking at procurement of new submarines.

The project is in its definition phase. This phase will be completed in the first half of 2016, when the external quality review is completed.

According to a Norwegian Government statement released yesterday "the Ministry of Defense has not chosen a supplier for new submarines, and is at present in dialogue with several different shipyards. It is therefore important to inform all parties as equally as possible. The Ministry of Defense and the project are in active discussions with several different nations with regards to potential submarine cooperation, with the aim of achieving the Norwegian ambition for cooperation."

As if to back pedal away from the notion that Germany has an inside track on the project, the statement notes that "Norway and Germany have already a longstanding and successful submarine cooperation. Germany is therefore a nation which it is natural for Norway to discuss a potential future submarine cooperation with. In addition to operational and purely defense related matters, industry will play an important part in a future submarine cooperation. The Ministry of Defense participated in an industrial seminar hosted by the Bundesverband der Deutschen Sicherheits- und Verteidigungsindustrie e.V (BDSV) in cooperation with the Norwegian Defense and Security industry Association (FSi) in Berlin the 8th and 9th of February 2016. State Secretary Øystein Bø and the National Armaments Director Morten Tiller participated in the seminar, which focused on the future submarine project and other defense projects where there is a potential for industrial and defense related cooperation between Norway and Germany."

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