The Netherlands has announced that its request for bids to replace its Walrus-class submarines is ready for three competing shipbuilders.
The milestone follows an April 2022 statement by Defense Minister Christophe van der Maat urging the acquisition process be sped up for new ships to boost the Royal Dutch fleet.
“It is an important project and a lot of money. That is why we did not take any chances with the request for quotation to determine what kind of submarines we want and how much we are willing to pay for them,” the minister said.
Applications will be sent to the three shipping companies in mid-November this year.
The three shipbuilders expected to submit bids by summer 2023 are French arms company Naval Group, Swedish company Saab Kockums, and German shipbuilder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
“The Ministry of Defense needs a few months to analyze these bids and then make a decision about the award,” the statement said.
The four in-service Walrus-class submarines are set to be replaced with four next-generation long-range, conventional vessels.
The Ministry of Defense intends for the replacements to operate for longer periods and be untraceable at a great distance from their home base.
“The submarine is one of our most important strategic weapon systems: they are virtually untraceable and powerful at every stage of conflict. We can therefore use them for many different tasks. Protecting ships, repelling opponents, collecting intelligence, and deploying our special forces,” Van der Maat said.