Saab and Damen this month unveiled a design for the replacement of the Royal Netherlands Navy’s (RNLN) ageing Walrus class submarines, with a focus on capabilities for intelligence operations. The core design is based on the A26, currently being developed for the Swedish Navy, and will leverage Saab Kockum’s experience with the Australian Collins class submarines.

‘It is a new boat building on the strength of the Walrus; taping on the experience of the Collins class submarine in Australia and integrating new capabilities developed for the A26,’ a Saab spokesperson told Shephard.’

Emphasising the increasing role that submarine play in intelligence options the new submarine design will house a multi mission portal (MMP).

‘The [MMP] and the large mission bay are improving the working conditions for special forces and therefore improves greatly the scope of missions. The MMP can also be used to launch and recover a range of ROV, AUV and SF vehicles with diameters beyond the size of a standard torpedo tube,’ the spokesperson added.

The propulsion system will be diesel electric with a Stirling engine. It is comparable to the propulsion in use on HMS Gotland, a Swedish attack submarine, and A26 according to Saab. The submarine has been designed with the capacity of operating the submarine far away from its home base in all kind of climate and seas in mind. This includes the capacity to sustain a large crew for a long period of time with the relevant supplies and weapons.

‘It is to be fully equipped to sail with a mixed crew,’ said the spokesperson, ‘The full life cycle management and future upgrades are to be accommodated in the Netherlands, working with the Ministry of Defence/Royal Netherlands Navy to sustain operational and industrial capability.’

Saab and Damen announced its teaming to explore future opportunities in the submarine market in 2015, with focus on the replacement of the Walrus-class.

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