Naval Group's Blacksword Barracuda wins in the Netherlands

The Dutch authorities, through the Secretary of State for Defense Christophe van der Maat, confirmed that Naval Group had been selected for the replacement of the four Walrus class submarines of the Dutch Navy.

For this competition, Naval Group offered a new model in the Barracuda range. Designated Blacksword Barracuda, the vessel is more compact, and certainly more economical, than its big brother, the Shortfin, while retaining the oceanic and capacity qualities.

If the French industrialist and the Dutch authorities will now begin an exclusive negotiation to define a contract for an amount estimated between €4 and €6 billion, the road will be difficult and dangerous for Naval Group, which will have to confront a Dutch Parliament held by the nationalist party PPV, and to the Dutch shipbuilder Damen, which has already announced its color and its opposition to the government's decision.

A “balanced, versatile and realistic offer”, according to the Dutch Ministry of Defense

The announcement of the victory of Naval Group and its Barracuda, to replace the four Dutch Walrus submarines, had been expected for two weeks now, after Bloomberg reported on this victory, according to corroborating sources .

walrus submarine dutch navy
The Royal Netherlands Navy plans to begin the withdrawal of its Walrus submarines within ten years.

“Naval Group has succeeded in making a balanced, versatile and realistic offer. The shipyard has become a worthy successor to the Walrus class. Dutch industry has an important role to play,” said Secretary of State Christophe van der Maat in the press release published by the Dutch Ministry of Defense.

It further specifies that the four ships will be named Orka (orca), Zwaardvis (Swordfish), Barracuda and Tijgerhaai (Tiger shark). The first two ships must be delivered ten years after signing the final contract. Furthermore, the Dutch naval industry will be massively involved, both in the construction and maintenance of the ship.

“This decision is therefore good not only for the navy and our security interests, but certainly also for Dutch companies and the construction of our know-how” specifies the Secretary of State, in his press release. 

A 3.300-ton Blacksword Barracuda which joins the Scorpene range

Contrary to what was previously put forward, Naval Group has bet on a new model in its Barracuda range. Called Blacksword Barracuda, it will be 82 meters long, 8,2 meters in diameter, and have a submerged displacement of 3 tonnes.

Without being explicitly stated, the ministry's press release confirms that the ship will be equipped with lithium-ion batteries, and not a less efficient AIP system. These offer many advantages, in particular the possibility of being recharged at sea very quickly, of having a large energy capacity, and of being able, if necessary, to produce large quantities of energy, if the ship has need to do bursts of speed.

blacksword barracuda
Illustration released by the Dutch Ministry of Defense regarding the Blacksword Barracuda.

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