Safran’s Navigation System Chosen for Dutch Walrus-class Submarine Modernization

Safran’s integrated inertial navigation system (including Sigma 40 inertial navigation units and the associated computers) was chosen to modernize the Royal Netherlands Navy’s Walrus-class submarines, following an international bidding process.

In a joint statement, Danny Pronk, projects procurement officer, and Jaap Hagesteijn, senior naval systems integrator, representing the Dutch Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) which was in charge of the selection process, said: “We chose Safran Electronics & Defense because we have great confidence in their long experience as a supplier of naval equipment. Their system’s performance and reliability, as well as customer support, were also decisive factors in our selection.”

Following the contract signature, Jean-Christophe Mugler, head of sales & marketing in Safran Electronics & Defense’s Defense Division, added, “We are very proud of this selection, which recognizes our position as a favored supplier to Walrus class submarines. We will continue to deliver top-flight service to the DMO, whose selection once again illustrates our outstanding expertise in this field.”

Safran Electronics & Defense’s Sigma 40 is the best-selling naval inertial navigation system in the world. Inertial systems from Safran Electronics & Defense are deployed by more than 40 navies worldwide.

Safran Electronics & Defense has provided inertial navigation systems for both surface ships and submarines for more than 70 years. Combining outstanding reliability and performance, these systems are now used on more than 600 ships in service or on order around the world.

Walrus-class submarine

Walrus-class is a class of conventionally powered (diesel-electric) attack submarines of the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN). It is the only submarine class currently in operation with RNLN.

They have been in service since 1990 and are all named after sea mammals. The submarines of the class are HNLMS Walrus (S802) – 1985, HNLMS Zeeleeuw (S803) – 1987, HNLMS Dolfijn (S808) – 1990, and HNLMS Bruinvis (S810) -1992.

The Walrus-class submarines are unusual in that instead of a cross-shaped assembly of stern diving planes and rudders, they mount four combined rudders and diving planes in an “X” configuration. This tail configuration was first tested in 1960 on the United States Navy’s USS Albacore, and has since been used by the Walrus class, all Swedish Navy submarines since the Sjöormen class, the Royal Australian Navy’s Collins class, the German Type 212A and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s Sōryū class.

After the Cold War, the subs have been tasked for many highly confidential intelligence gathering operations (still classified) in the Yugoslavian region, Iran, Iraq and the Caribbean often on request of Allies, including the United States.

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