In a landmark decision, Saab and Damen Shipyards‘ CEOs announced a joint venture to export the Expeditionary C-71 submarines, marking a milestone in Swedish-Dutch cooperation and bolstering long-term economic growth prospects.

This partnership, spearheaded by Arnout Damen and Micael Johansson, CEOs of Damen Shipyards and Saab, aims to double the long-term employment and income prospects for the Netherlands Naval cluster.

In 2023, Saab, in collaboration with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group, submitted a proposal to the Netherlands to replace their submarine fleet, presenting four advanced Expeditionary submarines. 

The Netherlands is in the process of replacing its four Walrus-class submarines and is currently deciding which company will obtain the contract. According to GlobalData’s Netherlands defence market intelligence, the future submarines will be diesel-electric and equipped with long-range missile capabilities.

With a modular design incorporating up to date capabilities and technologies, these submarines aim to address the evolving needs of modern naval warfare.

The collaboration between Saab and Damen Shipyards dates back to 2015. The Dutch Naval base is the remaining self-sufficient defence industry cluster in the Netherlands DTIB, making projects like the submarine replacement necessary for national security.

Naval Group and ThyssenKrupp are competing to serve the Royal Netherlands Navy, so Saab and Damen have hedged their bets by extending their offerings to Canada, a country in the initial phase of replacing its diesel-electric submarines. On March 5 2024, Bloomberg reported that France’s Naval Group are set to win the submarine deal.

Canada is likely to initiate the replacement of its Victoria-class submarines over the forecast period, according to GlobalData’s “The Global Submarine Market 2023-2033” report.

The Expeditionary C-71 submarine is based on the design of the A26 submarines, blending technology with future-proof capabilities. Sweden has a tradition of producing submarines through Saab’s business area, Kockums, and this new Expeditionary design benefits from decades of collaboration.

Four countries already operate submarines and submarine technology designed by Saab – Sweden, Australia, Japan, and Singapore.