TechNetherlands to acquire advanced French submarines, boosting naval power

Netherlands to acquire advanced French submarines, boosting naval power

Dutch Barracuda ships will be a shortened version of the French units without a nuclear reactor.
Dutch Barracuda ships will be a shortened version of the French units without a nuclear reactor.
Images source: © GDA
3:09 PM EDT, March 15, 2024
The Netherlands has selected France's Naval Group as the supplier of four submarines for its navy, with the first submarine to mirror the Polish program for acquiring such vessels. Here's an insight into what the Dutch will be adding to their naval capabilities.
The conclusion of a competitive process that commenced in 2019 saw Naval Group, along with Saab and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, vying for the contract. Eventually, the French company emerged victorious, securing the deal to construct four submarines that will succeed the Royal Netherlands Navy's Walrus-class ships, initially commissioned in the 1990s.
The forthcoming vessels are designed to preserve the Netherlands' capacity for undertaking expeditionary missions, encompassing intelligence collection. Their ability to carry cruise missiles will notably enhance their offensive prowess. The submarines have been named Orca, Zwaardvis, Barracuda, and Tijgerhaai.
Moreover, as part of the agreement, Naval Group will play a significant role in bolstering the Dutch technological and industrial sectors, which revolve around approximately 1,000 companies. Thus, the local shipbuilding industry is anticipated not only to substantially contribute to the construction of these vessels but also to their ongoing operation. The initial two submarines are expected to be delivered within a decade following the signing of the executive agreement.

Barracuda for the Netherlands — France's strike submarine, now non-nuclear

Opting for the French proposition means the Netherlands will acquire a modified, conventionally propelled version of the Barracuda class, dubbed Blacksword. This design reflects France's most advanced submarine technology, first introduced into service in June 2022.
The cutting-edge features of these vessels include the latest sound-dampening coatings and a water jet propulsion system—a departure from traditional propellers. Dimensions approximate 325 feet in length, 29 feet in width, and a displacement of roughly 5,620 short tons. The arsenal comprises F21 torpedoes, FG29 mines, SM39 Exocet Block 2 missiles, and MdCN cruise missiles capable of exceeding 620 miles in range. They also offer accommodation for 15 special forces operatives.
The Dutch variant, anticipated to be around 295 feet in length, is expected to have a smaller operational duration—no more than 270 days—likely due to its conventional propulsion system. The crew size may also be reduced from the French version's 63 sailors.
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