France’s Naval Group joins forces with Royal IHC on Dutch submarine replacement project

French defense contractor Naval Group has joined forces with Dutch shipbuilder Royal IHC in a bid to secure a contract for the Royal Netherlands Navy’s submarine replacement project.

Photo: Naval Group

The two companies are combining their experience and expertise in designing and manufacturing complex maritime and defense systems.

Naval Group would define the submarine design with the Dutch authorities, while Royal IHC would be appointed to perform the construction and outfitting of the end product in collaboration with the Dutch maritime sector.

Over the next months, Naval Group and Royal IHC will reinforce their partnership with the review of building sites in the Netherlands and by engaging with Dutch industry partners.

The French company has already opened a Dutch subsidiary as part of its efforts to win the over-2.5 billion euro contract for the design and construction of submarines that would replace the Walrus-class boats currently in service with the navy.

The other known contender in the program is the Damen-Saab duo with a proposal based on Saab’s export variant of the A26 air-independent propulsion submarine the company is building for the Swedish Navy.

“We have been engaging actively with the Dutch industry and knowledge centers for over a year and a half and have reinforced our local footprint with several important milestones such as the creation of Naval Group subsidiary in the Netherlands,” Hervé Guillou, Naval Group CEO said at the signing ceremony. “Today, we are joining our strengths together with Royal IHC to support the Netherlands MOD getting the most capable submarine responding to the specific needs of a first-rank NATO partner.”

“Royal IHC is pleased to partner with Naval Group not only due to its extensive track record in building submarines, but also given the values our companies share; we are committed, reliable, can offer the best value product and we are extremely well placed to include a strong Dutch content base,” Dave Vander Heyde, CEO of Royal IHC, added.

The Netherlands is expected to award the first contract in 2021 with the first submarine arriving in 2027.