The Walrus-class attack submarines of the Royal Netherlands Navy are 222ft-long and have a submerged speed of 20k with a range of approximately 11,500 miles when cruising at 9k. The 2,765 long-ton, life-extended Walrus subs are set to be replaced by 2025 after being in service since 1990. Saab has entered into an agreement with shipbuilding firm Damen to work together in pursuit of the submarine replacement program for the Netherlands.
Saab has gained extensive experience in the design and manufacturing of submarines and surface vessels through their acquisition of Kockums. Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding delivers about 160 vessels annually. Their portfolio of defense and security vessels range in size from 7 meters to over 200 meters. Together, the two independently-owned companies are confident that they will accelerate submarine development and opens up the potential for more submarine programs worldwide.
Saab’s central goal is to expand their already rapidly expanding Saab Kockums underwater division. Through strategic industrial partnerships Saab wants to strengthen Sweden’s ability to design and export advanced submarines and auxiliary solutions. Industrial partnerships can lead to sharing development and maintenance costs in regards to the A-26 submarine program. The collaboration has also returned full control of key submarine technologies including the Stirling-based air independent propulsion system to Sweden.
The deal to team with Damen is the single biggest industrial partnership by Saab since its acquisition of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) from ThyssenKrupp in July 2014. Since the acquisition, TKMS has been re-name Saab Kockums. The acquisition means that Saab is one of the few companies with the ability to develop, produce and deliver total defense solutions for air, land and sea. Saab also hopes it can secure contracts of sub-systems from the $13.7 billion Collins-class submarine replacement program.
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