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With the commissioning of KNM "Kobben" in 1909, the Norwegian Marine started their submarine tradition. Norway has six submarines of the Ula-class. These are the only submarines of this class in the world, and they are approximately 25 years old. This means that acquiring spare parts is becoming gradually more challenging. Under the 2017 strategic cooperation program on submarines, TKMS is due to produce four such vessels for Norway and two more for Germany. Additionally, the programme envisages the Norwegian missile-maker Kongsberg outfitting German warships with upgraded naval strike missiles. The plans of the Norwegian Government intend to replace these with four boats based on German operated class 212. They are supposed to enter service between 2025 and 2032. In June 2018, the Norwegian Parliament approved the purchase of four new submarines. The price is equivalent to 4.33 billion euros.

For nearly two decades, the Norwegian Government looked for a suitable Partner in their submarine planning. For a while, the Dutch were seen as a possible cooperation nation, however, this effort did not lead to any agreement. Then the Norwegian turned to the Polish Government, but here the timeplan for the procurement of new boats was not consistent with the Norwegian ideas. From a Norwegian perspective, finding partners was a decisive criterion.

In December 2000 Norway, Sweden and Denmark started planning a new, joint submarine named Viking. The joint venture contract between the three military commands was signed in Copenhagen.

The submarines would be continued as an essential capacity on the basis of their ability to operate hidden over time with great firepower. The submarines are, together with the new fighter planes, a resource with independent strategic skills while they are an important force multiplier in cooperation with other military capabilities. The Navy has six submarines that are currently being upgraded in order to be operational until 2020. The submarines recommended continuing with four vessels in the remaining lifetime for Ula class. This number is also recommended for the acquisition of new boats around 2025. In order to ensure the utilization of four submarines manned structure with five crews.

The Viking class submarine was a planned class of submarines to be built by the Viking Submarine Corporation. Viking was a corporation jointly established by Kockums in Sweden, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace in Norway and Odense Steel Shipyard in Denmark. Finland was an observer of the Viking project, as an eventual future buyer of additional Viking submarines. The idea was to develop modern successor to Swedish Gotland class submarine, that would have cost about 1/3 of the German Type 214.

Norway formally withdrew from the 'Viking' submarine project on 13 June 2003 at the end of the Project Definition Phase Step 1. Studies into the replacement of the current submarine capability from about 2020 were launched in late 2007. Following initial conceptual work, a more detailed project definition study was expected to start in 2010. Options include upgrading the present fleet of submarines, replacement (possibly with the Swedish NGS) or abandonment of the capability altogether.

HDW presented a new submarine at SUBCON 2007, the Type 210mod. The design is obviously based on the Type 210, which is better known as the Norwegian Ula class. Several subcomponents will be identical to or derived from Type 212A/214 hardware, others (as with Type 210) will come from the proven Type 209 line. With the Type 210mod HDW said it was trying to tackle "budget" markets, in particular in South America and South-East Asia, to be able to directly compete on price with the current Russian export offensive in those areas. HDW planned this sub as a direct competitor to Amur and SMX-23.

Additionally, HDW saw the Type 210mod as a good potential "entry submarine", for navies without submarines. A secondary market is to sell certain navies a new budget submarine instead of costly modernization of existing submarines. And the third market is as a "low-end" supplement to navies with Type 214 or Type 209/1400 (or similar) subs, as HDW will market it with interoperability and straight compatibility (including crew training) to those classes. Type 210mod apparently garnered a lot of interest at SUBCON 2007, at which time TKMS/HDW was in the final design phases and expected to have the design ready for biddings in 2008.

As part of the effort leading up to the next decision point in 2014, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) on 11 September 2012 forwarded a “Request for Information” (RFI) to a number of prequalified shipyards. These include DCNS (France), Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (representing Kockums AB, Sweden and HDW, Germany) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME, South Korea). The purpose of the RFI is to investigate investment cost, life cycle costs, production time, performance and other important aspects related to new submarines that in turn will shape a decision on life extension or fleet replacement. Responses to this RFI were expected by the end of the year.

A planning process has been underway in the Ministry of Defence since 2007 to evaluate different options regarding the future of the Norwegian Submarine Service. In 2012 the Norwegian Defense Ministry sets an interest procedure for the future submarines.

  • DCNS (now Naval Group), France
  • Fincantieri, Italy
  • Navantia, Spain
  • thyssenkrupp Marine Systems(tkMS), Germany (at this time also as a representative for Kockums in Sweden)
  • Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME), South Korea

The replacement submarines would be based on an existing design to circumvent an extensive development process with all its attendant cost and technical uncertainties, and they would be built by an experienced shipyard. Germany, South Korea, Italy, Sweden, France and Spain qualified as supplier countries. Germany had traditionally close military links with Norway and a decades of cooperation in naval construction. Norway's Ula submarines go back to a German design, while the first four German class-212 A submarines were equipped with a Norwegian battle management system.

The project for new submarines was in the definition phase, and a recommendation would be presented to the Government in 2016. By September 2015 Norway and Poland were engaged in discussions on a the joint procurement of submarines. Norway was debating how to replaced its fleet of six Ula-class subs, and Poland ws reportedly external link external link seeking out European partners for a joint acquisition. The Polish Navy needed three new boats to enter service in the mid-2020s. The Netherlands was eyed as another possible partner.

Norway had an evolutionary approach to new submarines, and would base the procurement on an existing submarine design from an experienced and qualified shipyard. This would reduce the need for an extensive development project with the risks and costs this would involve. Norwegian industry is world leading on some of the technology used in submarines, and the Norwegian Government would use the procurement of new submarines as an opportunity for the Norwegian defence industry.

The Norwegian Government decided in 2014 to investigate options for a new submarine class, rather than doing a life-extension program on the existing Ula-class. Norway’s 6 Ula Class/ U210 diesel-electric submarines were commissioned from 1989-1992. The Norwegian Ministry of Defence decided in December 2014 that the Ula-class subs would have their lives extended to 35 years – out to 2020 – with the replacement program in a project definition phase by 2015.

The Ula-class submarine would reach the end of its life in the mid-2020s. In order to have new submarines ready by this time, a contract would have to be signed before 2020. To maintain knowledge, competency and a minimum of operational submarines, there needs to be an overlap between the phasing out of the Ula-class and phasing in of the new submarine class. It is estimated that delivery of the first new submarine of the new class would take place approximately six to seven years after a contract is signed.

By the end of 2016, a recommendation on the future submarine capability would be presented. Thereafter, pending the Governments decision, an investment proposal would be presented to Parliament. This would enable the delivery of new submarines to the Norwegian Navy starting from the mid 2020s.

To maintain knowledge, competency and a minimum of operational submarines, there needs to be an overlap between the phasing out of the Ula-class and phasing inn of the new submarine class. It is estimated that delivery of the first new submarine of the new class would take place approximately six to seven years after a contract is signed.

Based on economic, industrial and military assessments, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence has concluded that the French company Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) and the German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) are the strongest candidates if Norway decides to procure new submarines. The Ministry of Defence has decided to focus our future efforts towards these two companies and their respective national authorities. " France and Germany are amongst the largest nations in Europe. A submarine cooperation with one of these nations will secure that Norway acquires the submarines we need, whilst contributing to Smart Defence and a more effective cooperation on defence materiel in NATO", Minister of Defence Ine Eriksen Søreide said 07 April 2016.

DCNS and TKMS are the largest manufacturers of submarines in Western Europe. They have extensive experience in building advanced submarines and a large industrial capacity. The submarine designs offered by these two companies will be a good starting point for Norway’s future submarines. Federal Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and her Norwegian colleague Ine Marie Eriksen Soreide met 22 August 2018 at the Eckernförde naval base to talk about expanding the strategic partnership between the two countries. The Norwegian Minister also announced plans to buy four German submarines. The billions contract will be signed in 2018, so that the first submarines from 2024/2025 can be delivered. Eriksen Soreide wants to have the four boats built at the Kiel shipyard ThyssenKrupp Marine. The costs should be according to media reports at 4.33 billion euros. Germany intends to buy two more submarines of the same type. In addition, in return missiles of the Norwegian company Kongsberg be purchased.

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Page last modified: 03-05-2019 18:39:01 ZULU