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French company Naval Group has been selected to build 4 new submarines for the Dutch navy



THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — French defense industry heavyweight Naval Group has been chosen to build four new diesel-electric submarines for the Dutch navy, the government announced Friday, in a provisional deal to replace three ageing Walrus Class subs.

The Dutch government did not immediately announce the price tag for the new submarines. However, in a letter to lawmakers, the Ministry of Defense said that the “investment budget” through 2039 is 5.6 billion euros ($6.1 billion), covering construction and other costs.

Under the provisional deal that still has to be approved by lawmakers, Naval will deliver the first two new subs within 10 years of signing the delivery contract, the ministry said.

In a statement, the defense ministry said the new subs, to be named Orca, Swordfish, Barracuda and Tiger Shark, will be a major improvement on the existing fleet of three that will remain in service until the replacements are delivered.

“For example, the ability to launch cruise missiles significantly increases striking power,” the ministry said. “With the latest sensors and communication systems, the new class is even better equipped than its predecessors to collect, analyze and share intelligence.”

Naval beat bids by Swedish builder Saab Kockums and ThyssenKrupp from Germany in a tendering process.

The government stressed that while a French builder has been chosen, the deal will substantially benefit Dutch companies involved in the construction and fitting out of the new submarines.

“Our shipyards can build excellent surface ships themselves, but unfortunately we have not had any Dutch navy yards that can design and build submarines themselves for more than 25 years,” Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriaansens said in a statement. “It is therefore important, in line with the maritime manufacturing industry sector agenda, to stipulate that foreign candidate yards are obliged to place parts of the order with the Dutch industry.”

Naval Group was plunged into the heart of an international diplomatic incident when the Australian government announced in 2021 that it was canceling a 90-billion Australian dollar contract for French-made diesel-electric submarines. Instead, Australia had struck a deal with the United States and Britain to provide submarines powered with U.S. nuclear technology, which French leaders said was sealed behind their backs.

In a move to heal relations with France, Canberra later agreed to pay Naval Group a 555-million-euro settlement for breaking the contract.

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