HENSOLDT, a sensor solutions provider, has been awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency to equip the ageing Ula” class submarines with advanced periscopes and optronic mast systems.

The $43.6m upgrade order will enhance the submarines’ vision capabilities and ensure operational effectiveness for years.

To extend the service life of the “Ula” class submarines, Hensoldt will replace the existing periscopes and optronic mast systems with improved technology. These visual systems will empower the subs with improved situational awareness and enhanced operational capabilities, despite the submarines being over 30 years old.

According to GlobalData’s “Norway Defense Market 2022-2027” report, submarines are the third-largest sector in the Norwegian defence market. Norway currently operates six Ula-class submarines and has contracted with German firm ThyssenKrupp Marine to acquire four larger, more capable Type 212 CD vessels. Total spending over 2022–27 for this sector is $1.7bn.

Tanya Altmann, Division Manager Optronics & Land Solutions and Managing Director of HENSOLDT Optronics GmbH, highlighted the significance of the contract, stating, “HENSOLDT equipped all Ula-class boats in the late 1980s and early 1990s with optics that were state-of-the-art at the time.

Three decades later, we ensure that Norwegian submarines have first-class vision systems. Equipped with the new optics and optronics, the Ula-class submarines will experience a massive increase in capability.”

These upgraded visual systems will enable the submarines’ crews to gain a comprehensive and real-time view of their surroundings, enhancing their ability to effectively detect and respond to potential threats.

In the past, Hensoldt supplied Norway with MSSR 2000 ID secondary radars and LTR400 DNG lightweight transponders. The Mode 5-capable technology IFF products enhance the ability of the armed forces to distinguish between friendly and hostile forces.

With the implementation of HENSOLDT’s advanced visual systems, the Norwegian “Ula” class submarines are poised to continue serving as a critical component of Norway’s naval defence strategy, enabling enhanced situational awareness and bolstering the country’s maritime security capabilities for years.