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Saab Global

How the Saab-Damen consortium will meet the Dutch requitement in replacing the Walrus class

3 min read + Video

Saab and Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group have joined forces to develop an expeditionary submarine for the Netherland´s Walrus Replacement Programme (WRES).


Take a look at the infographic above to get an overall understanding of the various steps of the program, or watch the film below. The production process will see sections made in Sweden and then assembled in Vlissingen in the Netherlands.

“Replacing the Walrus-class submarines requires a unique approach. Swedish modular submarine design and production techniques coupled with the Dutch shipbuilding tradition bring together the capabilities needed to deliver an assured operational capability”, says Gunnar Wieslander, Senior Vice President, head of business area Saab Kockums.

The Expeditionary Submarine builds on the capabilities of the Swedish A26 combined with Dutch Submarine technology and puts into practice the experience of the Dutch designed Walrus submarine class and of the Swedish designed Collins-class submarine in-service with the Australian Navy.

“The result of the collaboration will be a customer-adapted submarine for expeditionary missions. This will ensure that the Royal Netherlands Navy continues to play an important role in European waters as well as globally”, says Hein van Ameijden, managing director of Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding.

In addition, the Walrus replacement will also benefit from the operational lessons reflected in the Swedish Navy’s Gotland Mid Life Upgrade. As a result the Expeditionary Submarine will be equipped with state of the art technology whilst benefiting from de-risking on four submarine classes. Saab and Damen are thereby creating one of the most modern Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines in the world, which if selected by the Royal Netherlands navy, will be done in consultation with the customer using a ‘design to cost’ approach.

Having secured the cooperation of many Dutch companies, Saab and Damen are set to enhance the domestic submarine competence. This cooperation will also extend beyond the Dutch submarine project, as the two companies see a growing market for this type of advanced conventional submarines.

Both Saab and Damen are based in relatively small countries, which means that both companies must naturally be extremely good at collaboration to be able to operate successfully on an international level; it almost seems to be embedded in the DNA of both organisations. This in combination with a similar design philosophy based on cost-efficient quality and adaptive modularity means that Saab-Kockums is a perfect partner within the Dutch triple helix.