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The Hague wants new submarines from Naval Group instead of TKMS

Caption: A Walrus-class submarine (© MoD Netherlands)

The sparrows have been whistling it from the rooftops for days, now it’s a fact: the French Naval Group is building the submarines for the Netherlands.

In the long-drawn-out award procedure for the successor to the Dutch “Walrus” class submarines, both the domestic Damen Shipyards Group, which had allied itself with Saab, and TKMS from Kiel have come away empty-handed. All three bidders were shortlisted in June 2023. [ds_preview]

U-Boote, Walrus, Naval, damen, TKMS
A Walrus-class submarine (© MoD Netherlands)

The award decision is still provisional, as parliamentary approval is still pending. The audit report, which will form the basis for the final award decision, will not be available until May. In addition, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on rights of use, information security and knowledge exchange is to be signed between the two governments in The Hague and Paris.

New submarines only after more than ten years

With the announcement of the procurement decision by State Secretary Christophe van der Maat in Den Helder, the names of the four boats were also published: “Orka”, “Zwaardvis” (Swordfish), “Barracuda” and “Tiger Shark”. The first two boats are to be available within ten years of signing the supply contract.

Naval Group had offered a further development of the originally nuclear-powered Barracuda class as a replacement for the Walrus boats in a diesel-electric version. According to an earlier announcement by the ministry, the costs should amount to more than €2.5 billion to €3.5 billion.

The Hague and Paris – one hand washes the other

An award to France was previously linked to France’s support for Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s application for the post of NATO Secretary General.

In response to the demand from four Dutch provinces for the largest possible Dutch share in the forthcoming submarine contract, two other armament projects were announced: four air defence and command frigates and six amphibious transport ships are to be built by domestic shipyards.

TKMS disappointed after submarine decision

In the eyes of Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, the Netherlands has missed an opportunity for European cooperation and standardisation. TKMS builds six 212 CD submarines for Germany and Norway and also cooperates closely with Italy and Portugal in the procurement and operation of submarines. However, the decision in the Netherlands has “no impact on the economic situation or on strategic decisions at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems”, according to a statement provided to our sister publication “Europäische Sicherheit und Technik” (ESUT).

U-Boote, Walrus, Naval, TKMS, Damen

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