European giants compete for submarine contract in the Netherlands

By Defence Industry Europe

The Dutch Ministry of Defence has revealed that it received three offers for a new submarines programme for the Koninklijke Marine (Royal Netherlands Navy). The programme aims to replace four conventional submarines to match the current number of in-service Walrus-class submarines, two of which are scheduled for imminent retirement.

The offers were submitted by companies that had previously received requests for proposals from the Dutch Ministry of Defence. The contenders are Saab Kockums, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (tkMS), and Naval Group.



Each company presented its proposal for industrial cooperation with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy, known as the Industrial Cooperation Agreement (ICA). The ICA is designed to bolster the Dutch technological and industrial base. Unlike the rest of the programme, the evaluation of ICA proposals falls under the responsibility of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

The Dutch authorities will now initiate the evaluation process and prepare for the decision-making phase to select the best offer. The decision is expected in the first quarter of 2024, paving the way for signing the contract with the chosen contractor.

The entire process, from contract signing to the delivery of the first pair of new submarines, is estimated to take ten years, accounting for the construction and testing period. Procuring the new submarines will be one of the most significant defence undertakings for the Netherlands in the coming years.



Apart from Saab, the other contenders have not publicly disclosed their proposals. Saab has already announced that it will offer a submarine called the Expeditionary Submarine C718. A visualization of its conning tower indicates that it will be an evolution of the A26-class submarines. The submarine is being offered by Saab in collaboration with the Dutch Damen Shipyards Group. The partnership between the two entities was established back in 2015.



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