The Dutch Ministry of Defence is earmarking hundreds of millions of euros too little for the purchase and operation of the four new submarines. According to research by the Court of Auditors, the budget needs to be upped by 730 million euros.
The current four Walrus class submarines are to be replaced this decade as they are coming to the end of their lifespan. In 2022, it will become clear which company will be allowed to build them. There are still three companies in the race for that.
How much the replacement will cost is commercially confidential. The ministry merely states in the budget that more than 2.5 billion euros will be allocated to it. It is said that the four new boats will cost at least 4 billion euros.
Total budget tripled since 2016
‘As not all foreseeable expenditure on the new submarines and their operation has been taken into account, we conclude that the budget is too low,’ the Court says. The replacement budget has increased by an additional 1.14 billion euros since 2016 and the total budget has “almost tripled” since then.
According to responsible State Secretary Barbara Visser, there is no need to increase the budget by 730 million euros. She points out, among other things, that ‘the total risk reserve is considerably higher than usual’ and she does not expect that the transition from the old to the new boat will entail additional costs.
There are also problems of deployability in the years to come, according to the report. Up to 2029, one or two submarines are said to be available for deployment. ‘This means that the own standard for operational readiness of two boats will not be met at least until 2030, let alone the NATO target of three boats.’
Three foreign shipyards are in the race to win the contract. These are the Swedish Saab, which is working with the Dutch company Damen, the French Naval, which has joined forces with Royal IHC from Kinderdijk, and TKMS from Germany.