European collaboration

Collaboration across several European navies enables the sharing of costs for design, development, production, maintenance and upgrading - during the entire submarine lifecycle. This saves money and time, through sharing of knowledge, experience and non-recurring and sustainment costs across multiple navies, while improving the quality of the submarines.

Our position in the market has enabled us to form international alliances. For example, in 2017 Norway and Germany entered a joint venture to build six new HDW Class 212CD submarines, a new generation of the HDW Class 212A, aimed at worldwide deployment. The further development of this project is an important incentive to deepen and broaden European collaboration in the field of defense with the hope, that additional nations will choose a tailored version of the HDW Class 212CD, such as the Netherlands.

Read more below about the advantages of a European collaboration.

Benefits for the Netherlands

The Netherlands will benefit greatly from European collaboration. Benefits of economy of scale include reductions of non-recurring costs, integrated logistics support, upgrade and modernization, training and crew exchange.

After the decline of the Dutch submarine industry (RDM) in the mid 1990's, most of the remaining know-how was centralized at the DMI (Directie Materiële Instandhouding, the RNLN arsenal) in Den Helder. Since then, the 4 Walrus Class submarines have been successfully maintained and even upgraded to the present state-of-the-art level. DMI has become the core of the Dutch submarine ecosystem, offering some 150 direct and a multifold of indirect highly qualified jobs. The combination of operational, technical and sustainment knowledge and experience is the perfect basis for the design, outfitting, sustainment and innovation of the new submarines for the Royal Netherlands Navy.

Approximately 500 direct and 1,500 indirect jobs will be established for a period of at least 30 years. thyssenkrupp Marine Systems will play an active role in educating and training all involved personnel and ensure that the expertise of submarine production is transferred to members of the Royal Netherlands Navy, as well as the Dutch companies and knowledge institutions involved in the project.

The Dutch government recently stated that more European collaboration in the field of defense is not only necessary, but also feasible.

Not starting from scratch

Thanks to the cooperation with Norway and Germany, it is not necessary to start developing submarines for the Netherlands from scratch. Based on the experience of the successful HDW Class 212A submarine, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems has developed the HDW Class 212CD for Norway and Germany. The 212CD will be further adapted for the Netherlands, meeting the operational needs. Since the Dutch vessels will be based on the German and Norwegian ones, even when the technical specifications will be tailored to meet the specific needs of the Dutch government, there will be significant scale benefits. With the creation of a "European Family of Submarines" based on HDW Class 212A and 212CD submarines, multiple countries, including the Netherlands, will benefit from the resulting economies of scale.

Centralized know-how

Research and development, supply of spare parts, crew training and maintenance can all be done in one location. This saves a lot of cost, because portions of the shipbuilding infrastructure and knowledge gained can be reused for sustainment.

It is also possible to combine maintenance of the current Walrus Class submarines with the completion and maintenance of the new Dutch submarines and to maintain other HDW Class submarines at the naval facilities in Den Helder to ensure productivity in the region for a longer period of time.


There is a strong existing relationship between Germany and the Netherlands, also at military level. In the field of naval cooperation, there is the bilateral Sea-Battalion, the use of the joint support ship Karel Doorman for the transport of personnel and materiel. In the field of Army cooperation, there is the Dutch 43rd Mechanized Brigade as an integral part of the German 1st Panzer Division and the mixed German Netherlands Tank Battalion and the joint work in the field of Cyber Security. Submarine collaboration would further strengthen this relationship.

In the industrial field of cooperation, thyssenkrupp Marine Systems already has a good working relationship with DUKC members (Dutch Underwater Knowledge Center) and knowledge institutes such as TNO and MARIN.


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Werftstrasse 112-114
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Phone: +49 431 700 0
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