The Royal Netherlands Navy has four Walrus-class submarines, which are among the most modern non-nuclear submarines in the world.
Length 68 m
Beam 8.5 m
Draught 7.5 m
Maximum diving depth > 300 m
Water displacement 2,450 tonnes (surface), 2,800 tonnes (submerged)
Propulsion diesel/electric (3,132 kW)
Maximum speed 11 knots (surface), 20 knots (submerged)
Ship's company 55
Armament MK 48 torpedoes
In use with Royal Netherlands Navy
The Walrus-class submarines were built using stealth technologies making them invisible and very difficult to detect by ships, aircraft or other submarines when submerged. The submarines can remain submerged for long periods to carry out their missions.
In peacetime, the Dutch submarines are used primarily for reconnaissance. During exercises, they are often used as targets for frigates and helicopters.
In wartime, the most important task for the submarines is locating and attacking hostile submarines and surface ships. This will primarily be done in areas where the opposing force has surface and air dominance.
If a country is not cooperating with sanctions imposed by the international community, the submarines can contribute to enforcing the sanctions. During the NATO Operation Allied Force, HNLMS Dolfijn helped to enforce the embargo off the coast of former Yugoslavia.
Other missions for submarines include:
- collecting intelligence;
- conducting coast reconnaissance;
- laying sea mines;
- putting special forces from the Netherlands Marine Corps ashore.
Walrus-class submarines are manned by 55 personnel. Submariners have to undergo an additional examination before being permitted to work on submarines. On board, submariners from the cook to the captain go through a training programme to ensure they know the boat very well. The first part of the training concludes with an examination. Those who complete the exam successfully earn the coveted submariners' insignia, the 'flipper' (a dolphin).