Royal Netherlands Navy Awards Sub Contract to French Naval Group, Announces New Okra-Class

United States Military Academy and American Military University Alumni. Victor covers flash military, intelligence, and geo-political updates.

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The Announcement:

At approximately 0900 EST this morning, the Royal Netherlands Navy announced that the French Naval Group won a massive contract to build four new submarines for the Dutch over the next ten years. The class will be known as the Orka class, with the subs named Orka, Zwaardvis, Barracuda and Tijgerhaai. The first two will be delivered within ten years after the contract has been signed. The announcement reads below:

“The French Naval is building the new submarines for the Ministry of Defense. This is the provisional award decision after a careful tender process. On behalf of the Cabinet, State Secretary Christophe van der Maat (Defense) today announced the winning shipyard at the naval base in Den Helder.”

The Decision’s Details:

The deliberation behind which vendor would be awarded the contract was rife with controversy amongst the Dutch government. The top contenders were Swedish defense company Saab, Dutch shipbuilder Damen, and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems which was planning to offer a Type 212CD submarine model. The Naval Group, which ultimately won, offered to deliver Barracuda-class submarines and Damen/Saab offered the A26 submarine. The Dutch government outlined their decision-making calculus for Naval Group below, without disclosing bidding details such as overall price of the project:

“Over the past few months, the Ministry of Defense has assessed the tenders. The outcome of the tender evaluation is an overall assessment and a preliminary winner. After the tender evaluation has been discussed in the House of Representatives, the supply contract will be signed.

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy (EZK) assessed the proposals for an Industrial Cooperation Agreement (ICA). This is intended to strengthen the Dutch Technological and Industrial Base (NLDTIB), consisting of some 1,000 companies. The winning yard must contribute to this. It is important that there must be an agreement with the winning yard about the ICA. This is a prerequisite for the award. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will also be concluded between the Dutch government and France. The MoU contains agreements on user rights, information security and knowledge exchange, among other things.”

Credit: Royal Netherlands Navy / Koninklijke Marine

Possible Issues With Submarine Production:

It is important to note that there are two major camps in the Dutch government when it comes to building submarines: those that support the replacement of the current fleet with more capable boats and those that support replacing them with cheaper and smaller diesel electric boats based on the Swedish model, hence the desire to partner with Saab. Either way, these submarines would have to be built outside of the Netherlands due to the closure of Dutch RDM shipyard, the only domestic shipyard able to produce submarines.

These ships will replace the aging fleet of four Walrus-class Multi-purpose diesel-electric powered hunter-killer submarines.