“Our current submarines will reach the end of their service life after 2020. I am therefore very pleased that the process that will eventually allow us to decide on how to best secure the continuation of a Norwegian submarine capability beyond this point is progressing according to schedule,” says Norwegian Minister of Defence Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen.
From 2007 to 2011 a study was carried out by the Norwegian Ministry of Defence to determine whether Norway would continue to have a requirement for a submarine capability after 2020. The study concluded that Norway indeed had such a requirement, and that no other system would be able to replace the capability that is offered by a modern fleet of submarines. A decision was therefore made to look for alternatives for maintaining a Norwegian submarine capability beyond 2020.
A second process is now in motion that seeks to develop a basis for deciding between a further life extension of the current inventory, a replacement program, or a combination of the two. This process is expected to present its recommendations in 2014. The chosen solution will then form the basis for a project definition phase before any investment project is presented for the Norwegian parliament, which is planned to happen within 2017.
“The strategic significance of maintaining an independent and unique submarine fleet is emphasized by both political and military leadership of the Armed Forces,” says Mrs Strøm-Erichsen.
As part of the effort leading up to the next decision point in 2014, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) on 11 September 2012 forwarded a “Request for Information” (RFI) to a number of prequalified shipyards. These include DCNS (France), Fincantieri (Italy), Navantia (Spain), ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (representing Kockums AB, Sweden and HDW, Germany) and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME, South Korea).
The purpose of the RFI is to investigate investment cost, life cycle costs, production time, performance and other important aspects related to new submarines that in turn will shape a decision on life extension or fleet replacement.
Responses to this RFI are expected by the end of this year.
In parallel with the effort to better understand the different aspects related to the procurement of new submarines, the MoD project group is also working on identifying feasibility aspects, cost and uncertainties associated with a service life extension of the current Ula-class. External expertise, both domestic and international, has been engaged in producing inputs to this part of the process.