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Van Helden Expeditionary Submarine Saab Damen

Expeditionary submarines

The Expeditionary segment (C71) are the largest submarines in Saab’s offer, designed for longer missions. Based on a succesful, proven and future-proof design it incorporates the latest capabilities and technologies, while its modular design can add new technologues as they evolve to ensure relevance for the future. The expeditionary submarine builds on the success of the Collins-class and the Blekinge-class submarines, operated by the Royal Australian Navy and the Swedish Navy.

Key features

Advanced conventional submarines made for expeditionary missions.
Based on customer-adaptable modular design and state of the art technology.
Originated from operational proven submarine classes.

Outlast, outperform, outmanoeuvre

The C71 family Expeditionary submarine is a long-range, high-endurance vessel, with the accommodation and storage capacity to keep its crew comfortable, fully equipped and operational for longer. 

Protecting underwater infrastructure and shipping routes is imperative. Saab’s submarines have vast experience in seabed operations, and are ideal for the protection of critical underwater infrastructure, as well as shipping routes.


A Dutch submarine for the Royal Netherlands Navy

Saab submitted in July 2023 its proposal for the replacement of Netherland’s current submarines. The proposal comprises four advanced Expeditionary submarines based on the C71 family and includes a cooperation with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group.

This is what the project would look like – and how it would benefit the naval industry of the Netherlands.


The Expeditionary submarine builds on the capabilities of the Swedish Blekinge-class (A26) submarines 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.

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 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.

Submarine capabilities meeting international demands

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.

Saab Damen has the support and backing of members of NIDV, NMT and an extensive Dutch industrial base.

The Collins-class submarines

The Oceanic Extended range segment can be exemplified by the Collins-class submarine. Between 1993 and 2001, six Collins-class submarines were designed, constructed and delivered to the Australian Navy.

Collins-class submarines

A long-range, multi-mission patrol submarine was required for short- and long-duration operations. Saab’s business area Kockums worked alongside the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), providing technology transfer for design and construction using an advanced modular method. At the time, this was the largest single export deal from Sweden in history.

77.8 metres (255 ft) in length, with a beam of 7.8 metres (26 ft) and a waterline depth of 7 metres (23 ft), the six boats were the largest conventionally powered submarines in the world at the time of their commissioning. The submarines are single-hulled with two deck compartments.

Expeditionary Submarine

Did you know?

Saab has built 6 new submarine designs since the 1960’s.

6 where also the number of submarines built in the Collins-class for the Australian Navy.


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