Submarine Ahoy: Good news for both Sweden and the Netherlands!

This morning the press releases from both Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Saabgroup (through its subsidiary Kockums Saab Naval systems) revealed a teaming agreement:

Swedish defence and security company Saab is teaming with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group to explore future opportunities in the international submarine market. The companies have signed an exclusive teaming agreement to work together in pursuit of the potential Walrus-class submarine replacement programme for the Netherlands. In addition to this project, Saab and Damen will also explore ways in which they might bid jointly on other submarine procurement programmes.

Read the full Press releases @ Saabgroup and @ Damen Naval.


On July 30th 2014 I wrote the following:

Business case JFS: part 1

You think I misspelled that? Well your wrong. It stands for a new project called: Joint Future Submarine (JFS). No not again…. You could think! First let me explain the used terms:

Joint – A submarine is a strategic asset important for the whole defence force. It will gather intelligence over sea, and over land, it will insert and extract Special Forces, it will influence warfare on land with land-attack missiles and act as a (satellite) communication relay, between forward / expeditionary positioned land and air forces, if necessary.

Future – this one should be clear, a submarine design must be compatible for future uses. Just like the Walrus class we may expect them to operate for long lifetime. They must be built in a modular way to insert future technology at the moment not even available.

Submarine – yes ofcourse, the vessel is a submarine. They will be of the non-nuclear type. But must be fitted with Air Independent Propulsion systems. The type, just as the Walrus class should be able to operate independently on long ranges and without any direct support vessels.

Well we can learn from past mistakes now do we? So if some projects failed in the past because they had the program management wrong, they put new demands into the program in between, and they produced aircraft while testing had not been finished… yes than such a project is bound to fail…. Again. But if we get this the right way… well than such a project can be very promising.

This wasn’t the first time I mentioned this option though, I already had this in mind years ago when I was still developing the DutchForce21 concept for the reorganization and reequipping the Dutch Armed forces.  Read some of the other posts on my blog, about the future Submarine need and about (future) Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) needs for the Netherlands and Europe.

  1. Business case JFS: part 1
  2. Joint Future Submarine: part 2
  3. Future need for Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilies in European context – Part 1
  4. ASW capabilities: the European context – Part 2
  5. Business case JFS: short addition


How things can change over a year isn’t it? I remember it was December 2013 when the news arose about problems at Kockums with their greedy mother company TKMS / HDW. I received some information and found others through my network of defense experts worldwide.

Maybe that the naval domain can show the “air domain” how a cooperative project must be done. Both Damen and Saab know how to build vessels on a modular way. within budget, within technical scope so the products they build can be used what they were meant for.  No paper planes … eh… submarines i mean, but real ones, operational available and enough of them to operate properly.

I will keep an eye on this Joint Future Submarine project.

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