Saab submits its proposal for Walrus-class submarine replacements

Written by Nick Blenkey
Rendering of Walrus-class submarine replacement

Saab is offering four Expeditionary Submarines to replace the Netherlands' Walrus class

Supported by Sweden and the U.K., Saab has today submitted its proposal for the replacement of the Netherlands’ current Walrus-class submarines. Saab says its proposed four advanced Expeditionary Submarines are being offered in cooperation with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group.

The Walrus-class submarine replacement program has been long in the works but reached a milestone last year when the Netherlands Ministry of Defense issued an RFQ for four boats to three builders: Naval Group, Saab Kockums and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems. The ministry said then: “One of the award criteria is the participation of Dutch businesses in the development, construction and maintenance of important systems of the boat. In addition, the MOD desires as much Dutch involvement as possible to strengthen the country’s technological and industrial base.”

Saab and Damen announced their plan to develop the Expeditionary Submarine back in 2018, saying they were creating one of the most modern Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines in the world,

Saab said today that its offered solution is based on a successful, proven and future-proof design that will incorporate the latest capabilities and technologies, while its truly modular design will allow for new technologies as they evolve to ensure relevance for many years to come.

Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have cooperated since 2015 and the offer to build submarines to replace the Dutch Walrus-class is described as a balanced cooperation between the Netherlands and Sweden.

Walrus-class submarine replacemet rendering
Image: Saab

“The outstanding capabilities of the Expeditionary Submarine C718 meets and exceeds the Dutch needs and requirements long-term,” says Mats Wicksell, senior vice president and head of Saab’s business area Kockums. “Our offer constitutes a substantial contribution to the operational capability of the Dutch Defense Forces. Cooperation with local industry throughout the program secures strategic autonomy for the Netherlands. These are Dutch submarines for the Royal Netherlands Navy.”

As part of the Walrus-class replacement proposal, Saab says it is offering a proven and integrated weapon launching system and one of the best sensor-systems in the world. Saab’s innovative design features signature solutions to minimize detection by active sonars, all combined in an undetectable and extremely capable submarine.

Once delivered, it says, the submarines will be fully maintainable by the Royal Netherlands Navy including upgrades throughout their lifespans.

Sweden, through Saab’s business area Kockums, has a long tradition in producing world class submarines. Four nations are currently operating submarines and submarine technology designed by Saab’s business area Kockums: Sweden, Australia, Japan and Singapore.

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