The Netherlands wants to maintain its high-demand submarine capability within NATO and the EU. Allies and partners can thus continue to count on the Netherlands in the decades ahead. Developments on the eastern flank of the NATO treaty area make it particularly clear how important it is that NATO partners continue to invest in their (niche) capabilities.
The Ministry of Defense is now taking steps to improve the submarine replacement project. This was announced today (01 April) by State Secretary Christophe van der Maat in a letter to the House of Representatives.
More information has been gathered during the last few months, indicating that the research is approaching a new phase. Van der Maat has already made three decisions for one of Defense’s most complicated procurement initiatives. The first step is to develop a quotation request right away. Furthermore, the present Walrus class will remain in service for a longer period of time, but with fewer boats. Project management will be improved as well.
In order to maintain submarine service until the new boats are available, the present submarines will have to sail longer. The intent is to sail until the mid-2030s, but only if it can be done safely. Sailing through will require, among other things, a different maintenance approach. Therefore, DOD must decommission 1 of the 4 Walrus-class submarines in the short term, and a second later. Parts of these 2 oldest boats will then be used to maintain the other submarines.
The safety of submarine personnel will not be jeopardized by a prolonged voyage, Van der Maat emphasizes. The military seaworthiness authority keeps a watchful eye.
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