Advertorial – The engineering and design of submarines is challenging work. You will find more technology within every cubic metre in a submarine than in any other vehicle. With 89 years of experience, Nevesbu knows exactly what is involved in the design and engineering of submarines and how to tackle the complex challenges.

With submarines, we’re talking about at least half a million components. By comparison, a passenger aircraft has around 100,000 components. All these components have to be fitted in exactly the right place and connected with each other into one system. And all this has to fit in a cylinder that can reach depths of hundreds of metres. Designing submarines requires expert knowledge and a deep understanding of user requirements and operations.

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Submarine design and engineering since 1935

Ever since its founding in 1935, Nevesbu continuously carries out design, engineering and consultancy works for submarines worldwide. The company contributed to the design of the Walrus class submarines in the 1970s and has been involved in every Dutch submarine project since. In addition to the upkeep programme for the Walrus class, Nevesbu currently works on the construction, upkeep and modification of submarines in four other countries.

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Engineering to remain undetectable

One of the most important requirements of a submarine is that it must remain undetectable. Everything has to be silent. That means high demands are placed on the equipment and its integration. It must not emit any noise, it must be shock-proof, and the skin of the submarine cannot be in direct contact with the equipment; otherwise, it will emit noise.

In order to remain undetectable, submarines are designed to operate unassisted for long periods. The design incorporates redundancy, meaning that system B will take over if system A fails. Even if a submarine suffers severe damage during a mission, it can still remain undetected.

In short, a submarine must be able to move as smoothly and quietly as possible underwater so that it emits as little noise as possible, reflects as little sound as possible and cannot be located by sonar equipment. To this end, Nevesbu is involved in an R&D programme aimed at what is known as “target echo strength reduction”: mitigating sound reflection (echo) when sonar is used to locate a submarine. In this R&D programme, Nevesbu works with partners to develop and integrate materials that ensure sound is absorbed.

The challenge is to find the perfect balance

In order to achieve a stealth design that is able to performs its mission, everything needs to be balanced: the balance of heat, energy and space has to be perfect. Changing one element, however small, has a domino effect on the design of other aspects of a submarine. Every detail must be correct.

And all that in a space that is 100 per cent utilised. Not a single centimetre of design space is left over. The design of a submarine must be such that the crew can carry out their tasks safely, quickly and efficiently at all times.

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Ensuring optimal performance

Submarines operate in one of the most challenging environments on earth, requiring cutting-edge technology and advanced engineering solutions to ensure their effectiveness and safety. As both technology and global maritime dynamics evolve rapidly, staying at the forefront of these changes is critical. To this end, Nevesbu continuously focuses on knowledge development and innovations.

The feasibility study and conceptual design of a full-electric submarine , which was featured in a comprehensive article in the January edition of SWZ|Maritime, is a good example of this. By consistently investing in research and development, Nevesbu maintains a high level of expertise and ensures that the submarines it designs meet the highest standards of performance, safety and reliability.

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Pictures by Nevesbu.