Dutch Expeditionary Submarine Programme

Maro.Kyo

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Color me surprised, I thought that the Saab-Damen consortium had it in the bag. Who would've thought that KM will be the first operator of Shortfin Barracuda? That of couse is if this Bloomberg article is true, of couse.
 
Color me surprised, I thought that the Saab-Damen consortium had it in the bag.
Saab-Damen’s only real edge is domestic workshare. Huge amounts of technical and schedule risk due to the need to scale up Sweden’s A26 design, Saab’s difficulties in delivering that program, and their overall relative inexperience in sub building (compared to TKMS and Naval Group).

One could argue that putting politics and industrial policy aside, Barracuda should have been the favorite all along - on technical merits, risk and schedule… plus it can’t hurt that Australia paid for much of the development cost!

TKMS would have been the favorite if the subs-for-frigates deal with Germany hadn’t fallen through…
 

Color me surprised, I thought that the Saab-Damen consortium had it in the bag. Who would've thought that KM will be the first operator of Shortfin Barracuda? That of couse is if this Bloomberg article is true, of couse.
Naval has drastically undercut the other two, which is raising suspicion that they could only do so because they're partially nationalized.
And of course it also raises the suspicion that there's going to be cost overruns.

Still, Damen can't complain, they just got handed the replacement of our four Air Defense and Command frigates, AND for six Amphibious transport ships.
 
Naval has drastically undercut the other two, which is raising suspicion that they could only do so because they're partially nationalized.
And of course it also raises the suspicion that there's going to be cost overruns

Naval Group don’t need subsidies to be competitive. They’ve got the whole front section of the sub already designed and coming off a hot production line, and the design of the back section (the conventional propulsion modules) already paid for by Australia. They have the largest scale in terms of sub production facilities and order book, and the lowest design risk compared to the others as they don’t have to scale up a smaller design.

Those are significant natural cost advantages when bidding, which the others don’t have. Nothing to do with being partly government owned (indeed they still must turn a profit just like any private enterprise - otherwise Saab, TKMS or Fincantieri would all be able to sue in EU court for illegal subsidies).

For Saab, there are some parallels to their challenges selling Gripen against larger US and European fighters. If you don’t have scale, it’s hard to compete. What Damen-Saab seem to be hoping for is a political decision to override what seems like a fairly legit competition.
 
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Also working against SAAB right now is the Dutch have already started retiring their current boats. Of the three bidders, only Nav Group seems likely to get boats in the water soonest.
 
Naval Group don’t need subsidies to be competitive. They’ve got the whole front section of the sub already designed and coming off a hot production line, and the design of the back section (the conventional propulsion modules) already paid for by Australia. They have the largest scale in terms of sub production facilities and order book, and the lowest design risk compared to the others as they don’t have to scale up a smaller design.

Those are significant natural cost advantages when bidding, which the others don’t have. Nothing to do with being partly government owned (indeed they still must turn a profit just like any private enterprise - otherwise Saab, TKMS or Fincantieri would all be able to sue in EU court for illegal subsidies).

For Saab, there are some parallels to their challenges selling Gripen against larger US and European fighters. If you don’t have scale, it’s hard to compete. What Damen-Saab seem to be hoping for is a political decision to override what seems like a fairly legit competition.
Oh no, fair enough on all of that. I'm saying what perception is being formed right now, not what is actually happening.

This is definatively a fight for public perception.

OTOH, defense contracts are not subject ot the usual EU stuff for public contracts, and in the end the goverment can simply say "Damen has it", and be done with it. There could be a court case, but it's unlikely that Naval would win it.

Do I think Naval has it? Chances are, yes. Damen has been handed a fairly big order book by the government already, and although having more Dutch industry involved would be nice, there is a lot to be said for a competitive bid in regards to costs. The defense budget is growing, but not infinitely.
 
A billion-dollar order from Defence for four new submarines will go to a consortium led by the French Naval Group. Sources from The Hague confirmed this after a report from RTL Nieuws. The final decision will be taken on Friday in the Council of Ministers.
[...]
Naval won the battle against German ThyssenKrupp and Swedish SAAB, which worked together with Dutch shipyard Damen. The French also have a Dutch cooperation partner in Royal IHC, which will earn a significant part of the turnover, according to an insider around 40 percent. The new boats will replace those of the Walrus class that have been in service since 1992. There has been talk for about ten years about the project, which, according to the ministry, will cost at least 2.5 billion euros, but according to insiders at least 4 billion euros. The first two new boats should be operational in the period 2034-2037. The original plan was for the first new submarine to be launched as early as 2028. Defence previously preferred a boat from the Saab-Damen combination. But in 2019, the then cabinet decided to give three shipyards a chance. A Spanish shipyard was then dropped.
[...]
There has been fierce lobbying to win the order in recent years, including at high political level. In recent weeks, Damen Shipyard has already received major orders from Defence for building new air defence and command frigates and amphibious transport ships.

Translated from:
 
The Dutch showing Australia how it’s done. They’ll get their first sub in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost, with 40% offsets.

I wonder if the Dutch will be double-crewing their new subs (like the French do) to maximize sea time of this limited asset?

(Not to say the RAN shouldn’t have gone with used Virginia SSNs, but a rapid SSK parallel build with less Australian content would have delivered a lot more urgently needed capability than waiting for the very uncertain and expensive prospect of the Aukus SSNs after 2040).
 
There is some talk in the Dutch press the government dragged its feet for too long. In 2019, the then Dutch Minister of Defence presented a bid from SAAB and Damen, with the urgent advice to accept that bid. The rest of the cabinet declined, because competitive bids were hoped for from other parties. That decision alone is rumoured to have driven up programme cost considerably.
 
More substantial criticism could be that a delay of five years or more was caused before the submarines are ready for service. The Walrus-class submarines might not last that long.
 
Another delay in the offing. Mr Wilders' party, involved in the current negotiations for a new Dutch governing coalition, wants the yet to be formed government to decide on which bidder is to be chosen. Two of the other three negotiating parties don't want to wait for that.
A campaign against Naval Group winning the contract is gaining traction. TKMS seems to be out of the running.

This might take a while. It has been four months since the last elections, going by recent history a new government could still take half a year or more to step up.
 
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Details on the Naval Group bid to be presented this Friday, to the Dutch parliament.
 
Orka klasse
82 x 8.2m
3,300 tons surfaced
6x torpedo tubes, 30x torpedoes/missiles
15,000nm range, lithium-ion batteries
59 bunks (35-43 crew)

So it is significantly smaller than expected, but with a larger weapons load than the Barracuda SSNs.

Source:

barracuda%20nl.jpg
 
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The Dutch showing Australia how it’s done. They’ll get their first sub in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost, with 40% offsets.
I thought that the Aussies had canceled before there was a whole lot of detailed design work done on the conventional engineroom?


I wonder if the Dutch will be double-crewing their new subs (like the French do) to maximize sea time of this limited asset?
This old bubblehead would strongly recommend that they double-crew the subs.

Plus, the forward compartment is already designed around double-crewing, so I'd expect there's no surprise challenges to be had.
 
Anyone want to take a bet that the French are going to offer this design to the Canadians too?

I thought that the Aussies had canceled before there was a whole lot of detailed design work done on the conventional engineroom?
They still spend something on the order of two billion dollar for preliminary design. Some odf that is probably going into these subs.
 
Anyone want to take a bet that the French are going to offer this design to the Canadians too?
No bet. They'd be foolish not to, especially if they can drop a completed design on the Canadians.

They still spend something on the order of two billion dollar for preliminary design. Some odf that is probably going into these subs.
Granted. I'm still betting that there's at least another $4bn US in detailed design to happen.
 
I'm still betting that there's at least another $4bn US in detailed design to happen
No way. The entire detailed design of the Barracuda SSN class cost €1.5 billion - of which 1/3rd was for the nuke plant. The Dutch design shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred million.

The Aussies paid an arm and a leg for design because they insisted on full transfer of technology - ie. paying for their own (very well paid and expensive) engineers to learn how to design a sub. Basically reinventing the wheel. Plus they picked an extremely complex and high risk work arrangement.
 
No way. The entire detailed design of the Barracuda SSN class cost €1.5 billion - of which 1/3rd was for the nuke plant. The Dutch design shouldn’t cost more than a few hundred million.

The Aussies paid an arm and a leg for design because they insisted on full transfer of technology - ie. paying for their own (very well paid and expensive) engineers to learn how to design a sub. Basically reinventing the wheel. Plus they picked an extremely complex and high risk work arrangement.
Shouldn't, no.

How far behind schedule was the Attack-class when AUKUS was announced? 5 years? So I fully expect Naval Group to try something like that again.
 
Shouldn't, no.

How far behind schedule was the Attack-class when AUKUS was announced? 5 years? So I fully expect Naval Group to try something like that again.
A key difference is that this time they will almost certainly be built in France with Dutch industry chipping in support rather than being built in Australia with French industry support.
 
And The Netherlands is a bit close from France than Australia. Time will tell...
 
It's a provisional decision, a new Dutch cabinet might decide otherwise.
As much as I like Damen as a company, and the idea of rebuilding our submarine building knowledge, the navy needs those subs ASAP. The program has already been delayed by five years because of all the political bullshit, and Naval is willing to put a hard date on the first delivery.

That, and the Silent Service is actually very happy with the Naval offering. They consider it to be the best of the three.
 
How far behind schedule was the Attack-class when AUKUS was announced? 5 years?
Ahhh just another example of how the AUKUS lobbying campaign won in the media storytelling… In fact the Attack class was actually tracking close to schedule per the contract negotiated in 2018 and regular audit reports.

Ship systems functional review was completed in January through July 2021 right before AUKUS was announced (it started on time but was extended ~7 months due to some follow-up corrective items - very normal for any large program). The next milestone, preliminary design review, was actually scheduled to start on time in Oct 2021, but the cancellation happened a few weeks before. The original 2032 delivery timeline was still on track.

 
It's a provisional decision, a new Dutch cabinet might decide otherwise.
Indeed, a new government could skunk the whole deal. Such is life. I'm just pointing out that the plan as it stands now would be a great deal more straightforward than the Aussie plan.
 
...the navy needs those subs ASAP...
Agreed. I hope a final decision follows soon, but traditionally, an outgoing cabinet does not decide on issues with such far-reaching consequences unless in dire need.
...The program has already been delayed by five years because of all the political bullshit...
I can already hear the screams of anger when a final decision is made before a new cabinet is ready. Sometimes it's easier to apologise than ask for permission. As has happened before.
On the other hand, I expect a lot of screaming from the new cabinet anyway - whenever that will be presented.
 
I would argue the need is indeed dire, considering half the country's sub fleet is already being cannibalized to keep the rest going until the new boats arrive. It's also hard to chide the caretaker government for governing when there still has not been a new one created.
 
Walrus is already serving as replacement parts source for the other three submarines. I've read a second submarine will be used in the same way eventually, which will leave the Dutch navy with @Moose 'half the country's sub fleet'.
 
Shouldn't, no.

How far behind schedule was the Attack-class when AUKUS was announced? 5 years? So I fully expect Naval Group to try something like that again.
Francophobia starting all over again. Give them a break and mind your own business - complicated enough.
 
Here’s the official Orka class spec sheet, which apparently was shared by Naval Group with various defense media outlets but then pulled. So I can’t share a link as the original posts have been deleted, but it still lives in Google image search… for now.
 

Attachments

  • Barracuda NL specs.png
    Barracuda NL specs.png
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Typos might have something to do with it 'Lentgh' and 'Accomodation'
Its also not consistent with its punctuation, in the European style decimals are commas and thousands are full stops in the reverse of the English system. However its used commas for both. So thats four mistakes in the image.
 

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