Amsterdam should have announced a short-list for several weeks but the choice is debated within the government and the Dutch administration.
In the Netherlands, there is currently a national debate, but rather behind the scenes. A debate raging within the government and the Dutch Defense Materials Organization (DMO) between those who want a choice in favor of the consortium led by the local champion shipyard Damen, associated with the Swedish SAAB for the manufacture of four new submarines and those who advocate a short-list with two manufacturers (Damen / SAAB and Naval Group), or even three (Damen / SAAB, Naval Group and the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems). And then there are those very minority, who do not want a new submarine program to replace the four submarines of the Royal Dutch Navy Walrus type. A "fight" who has already dragged the announcement of a decision from March to June, even July.
"A great offer" from Paris
It is in this context that the Minister of Armies Florence Parly arrives on Monday in the Netherlands, to support among other things the offer of Naval Group, which has since last February joined the Dutch group Royal IHC. "We are convinced that we have a great offer for the Dutch navy , " says one in Paris. The naval group offers the Netherlands a conventional propulsion version of the Barracuda, which has already seduced Australia. "We have both a very good product and we can develop a real cooperation in the naval as well as in other areas with the Netherlands," says one in the entourage of the minister.
The proposed ocean submarines will be able to meet the specific needs of NATO as well as the United States with which the Netherlands regularly exercises to test US defenses. Paris believes a lot in its chances and gives itself the means to win. Every month, the Ministry of the Armed Forces reviews the situation with Naval Group CEO Hervé Guillou, the French ambassador to the Netherlands and the French parliamentarians associated with this campaign. "We really do the max" to win this competition, says one at La Tribune.
Submarines made in the Netherlands
If France considers that it is "very, very well positioned" in this campaign, the game is not played. Far from there. Because Damen, who grows to be the only candidate retained in the famous short-list, is logically supported in the Netherlands. It is indeed difficult in Amsterdam not to keep his local champion in the short-list. But, the partnership between Naval Group and the Dutch group Royal IHC has cut the effects of the campaign led by Damen on the theme, the French will do everything in France.
While Naval Group will define the design of the submarines with the Netherlands, Royal IHC will be responsible for the construction and layout of the vessels with the help of the Dutch maritime sector. Hence the debate raging in the Netherlands still in full hesitation. Finally, TKMS, in withdrawal, pushes a postponement of a decision to take the time to convince the Dutch of the merits of their offer, based on trilateral cooperation (Netherlands, Germany, Norway), even quadrilateral (Poland ), provided for TKMS to supply submarines to the Polish Navy. "The ball is in the camp" of the Dutch authorities, says one in Paris.