Norway's six Ula class submarines will reach the end of their service life after 2020. An ongoing study led by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is producing a basis for the decision between a life extension of the Ula class, a replacement program, or a combination of the two. The recommendation will be presented in 2014. The chosen solution will then form the basis for a project definition phase before an investment project is presented for the Norwegian Parliament, which is planned to happen within 2017.
The study is proceeding according to plan. The Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation (NDLO) has just received replies to a “Request for Information” (RFI) issued in September 2012 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 shipyards have answered the RFI by sending answers and required documentation to the NDLO. In February 2013, representatives from the shipyards will come to Norway to present and clarify their responses as necessary. The responses and the documentation will be thoroughly reviewed and analyzed over the course of the next six months.
Based on the information received, the MoD will produce a detailed overview of costs, performance, production time and other important aspects related to a potential procurement of new submarines.
The information provided by the industry is just one of several important steps in the process of producing a basis for the decision between a life extension program and new submarines. In addition, the MoD is engaged in discussions with other nations in order to identify if there is any potential for cooperation. Material cooperation with other nations can produce significant cost saving and synergies, and is an integrated part of the process.
In the months ahead, life extension of the Ula-class will be studied and analyzed in detail as well. Thereafter, the two main alternatives will be subject to thorough comparison and evaluation before a recommendation can be presented to the government in 2014.