The Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has selected French firm Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) and Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) as strategic partners for its future submarines programme.

DCNS and TKMS are said to cooperate with the Norwegian MoD, which is considering plans to purchase a fleet of next-generation submarines.

The new vessels are expected to replace six in-service Ula-class diesel electric boats of the Norwegian Navy.

As strategic partners, both companies will support Norway by offering in-service support and future upgrades, as well as seek common solutions in the areas of logistics and in-service support.

Norwegian Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said: "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."

"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 material in Nato."

Norway also seeks to collaborate with non-submarine building nations primarily the Netherlands and Poland that are planning a submarine acquisition.

Norway started exploring options for new submarines after receiving approval from the Norwegian Parliament approval in 2014.

The government currently has an existing fleet of six Ula-class submarines which were commissioned between 1989 and 1992 and are approaching the end of their life in the mid-2020s.

The Norwegian Government seeks to render the existing submarines operational in the 2020s until a procurement programme of new submarines is realised, which is anticipated to take more than ten years with first delivery approximately seven years after signing a contract, with subsequent delivery of one submarine a year.

The submarine procurement is aimed at fortifying the Norwegian defence industry and the parliament anticipates that the future procurement programme will ensure contracts for the country’s defence industry.

Image: Norway’s Ula-class submarine. Photo: courtesy of Sveter via Wikipedia.