June 8, 2018

2015 News: Damen & Saab Long Been Talking Netherlands Submarine Replacement

COMMENT

The June 1, 2018 Damen-Saab Netherlands submarine replacement design details via Dutch site De Telegraaf (then via other Dutch sites and English language sites) seems to be old news, little changed from 2015. It appears to be Damen-Saab advertising for just one of the Netherlands Walrus replacement submarine possibilities.

The Netherlands government and commercial entities have had ongoing talks with competing submarine builders over the last few years on possibilites for the Walrus replacement. These include:

-  TKMS (perhaps offering an enlarged Type 209, 212 or 214)
-  Naval Group (enlarged Scorpene or small Shortfin) and
-  Navantia, as the S-80 Plus (also at) will already displace 3,300 tonnes it may not need a size
   adjustment for the Netherlands).

The Netherlands has been actually mid-life overhauling/upgrading its current four Walrus class submarines to continue operating through the mid to late 2020s. So replacement submarines, from any of the four competitors, might only be launched from 2029 onwards.

Submarines Matters has recorded Netherlands-Swedish discussions since 2015. See

"Sweden and the Netherlands Replacement Submarine Needs, February 19, 2015"
"Saab-Damen Agreement

Since mid-late January 2015 there have been several reports that Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have signed an exclusive teaming agreement. This is to:

- explore future opportunities in the international submarine market including bidding jointly on submarine procurement programmes, and

- explore development of a potential Walrus-class submarine replacement for the Netherlands. 

...Possible Swedish Role

While Sweden is building its own two A26s Sweden might build the two to four Walrus replacements or at least supply the components for assembly in the Netherlands. 

Sweden's 3 Gotland Class submarines  (launched 1995-96) need replacing by 2025 and 2 Sodermanland class (relaunched 2003) for replacement by 2035(?).

Some extra issues/questions are:

...4. Would there be some technical, industrial and political overlap in the Walrus-class submarine replacement and development and construction of Sweden's future submarine A26?

5. Would the Netherlands find only 2 Walrus replacement submarines an effective number, given the "rule" of three and usefulness to the US alliance experience with the 4 Walruses. 

6. Could the Netherlands continue to justify unusually large SSKs or scale down to the usual European country own use maximum of around 1,900 tons surfaced?"

and in 2017 

Dutch Submarine Talks With TKMS & Kockums, not with DCNS, March 2, 2017
"...The Dutch Government continues informal talks with Germany and Sweden on Walrus submarine replacement issues. Surprisingly there was not the previous firm resolve from Dutch naval high command that replacement subs be built in the Netherlands..."

SAAB "MULTIMISSION PORTAL" - HORIZONTAL TUBE

It is also old news that Saab is developing a diver swim out/UUV launch "Multimission Portal" horizontal tube in the torpedo tube room.

See Saab Website "Story" of 21 April 2015:

"[Multimission Portal] Saab's A26 design includes a new innovative 6m x 1.5m Multimission Portal flexible payload capability with a lock system in addition to its conventional torpedo tubes. The lock system makes it easy for commandos to enter and exit the boat, and is large enough to allow the launch and retrieval of Unmanned Underwater Vehicles."

Note the diver swimout Multimission Portal tube at the bow of  the above Saab A26 design. This Saab design artwork was in a Saab "Story" dated 21 April 2015. So the June 2018 Saab-Damen news announcements contain little new.
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Like the glacial paced Australian Future Submarine program the Netherlands Walrus Submarine replacement may well take a decade till launch.

Pete

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