Walrus (2) Class Submarines
From Naval Forces Special Issue, 1996.
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The Royal Netherlands Navy (RNLN) started the Walrus (2) class project in 1978. It was a project to build a series of four submarines, as a replacement for the four triple-hull submarines of the Dolfijn class; a unique Dutch design dating from the fifties which for many years until 1992 determined the face of the Dutch submarine service.
HNLMS Dolfijn (4) carrying out sonar trials in a Norwegian Fjord (Photo: © Royal Netherlands Navy)
The Walrus project is a complex one because:
- It covers a long time span: from laying the first keel of the first boat, Walrus (2), in 1979 until the guarantee overhaul of the last boat, Bruinvis, in 1995; - It has a rather large (fixed) budget. The budget compromises approximately 2 billion Dutch guilders (price level 1994); - It covers not only the building of the submarines but also the introduction into the Navy; the procurement of training facilities and training of future submariners; - It uses state-of-the-art technology; - It has a high political and financial profile.
TASKS AND ROLES
The operational range of the RNLN submarines lies mainly in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea and the Norwegian Sea, but also in the Mediterranean.
Their missions are directed at anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, carrying out surveillance, special operations, and the laying of mines.
The modern and sophisticatedly equipped Walrus (2) class submarine contributes an important part to missions nationally and internationally agreed upon.
The design of the boat was under the guidance of the Royal Netherlands Navy Department of Materieel in close cooperation with Naval Industry and Research Institutes.
At the conclusion of World War II, it took some time before the submarine building activity in the Netherlands could be reactivated. To cover the gap, the RNLN used British and USN boats.
Around 1950 the first new class of self-designed submarines emerged. Four triple-hull submarines were delivered to the RNLN in the period 1960-64, Dolfijn class. The triple-hull design achieved excellent diving depth with relatively thin steel plating, so that the available material, tools and welding techniques could be utilized to their limits.
The development to the present Walrus (2) class stems from a different source, the Albacore, the USN test-submarine for high speeds, forerunner of the nuclear attack submarines as well as their non-nuclear version of the 1960s, the Barbel.
The Zwaardvis (2) class submarines were in operation from 1972 to 1995 when, as a result of 1991 Defence White Paper, decision was made to decommission them.
At the beginning of the design stage of the Walrus class submarine the RNLN stipulated the following requirements:
Basically, the proven Zwaardvis (2)-design had to be adopted. This directly led to:
- The same general arrangement and hull form as the Zwaardvis (2) class; - The same system layout, however, improved where the greater diving depth, reduced crew and increased reliability, availability and safety (RAS) required such.
Important increase in diving depth compared to the Zwaardvis (2)-design. This led to:
- The application of the High Yield (HY) steel with all its consequences for design and production; - A reduction of the systems under full pressure of diving depth; - A reduced crew.
Reduction of crew in this type of ocean-going submarine has been reached, amongst other things, by adopting an extensive automation of not only data-handling, sensors and weapons, but also for platform control. Control and surveillance of PLATFORM as well as SEWACO (Sensor, Weapon and Command) systems is centralized in the Central Control Room amidships. The machinery spaces and switchboard room are unmanned.
The Zeeleeuw (2), second of four Walrus (2) class boats. It has the capability to dive to a depth of over 300m. In addition to towed array sonar, it can be equipped with MK48 torpedoes, Sub-Harpoon missiles as well as mines. The small crew size of 52 is in large part due to the high level of automation HNLMS Dolfijn (4) carrying out sonar trials in a Norwegian Fjord (Photo: © Royal Netherlands Navy)
The requirements for increasing the diving depth and reducing the crew led to a requirement for increased reliability, availability and safety (RAS). This was realized by:
- Ample redundancy in all on board systems; - An RAS analysis being carried out, in the same way as is usual in the aircraft industry; - Standardization of components, in particular sensors and electric equipment. - A full scale mock-up of all the machinery spaces and central control room set up amongst others to optimize maintainability; - High shock resistance; - A further decrease of radiated-noise level.
The X-rudder system operates with four independently controlled rudders.
The Walrus (2) class submarine is distinguished for the applied automation:
- Her PLATFORM automation has been increased considerably compared to the Zwaardvis class. The systems included are the steering control for the X-rudder system and forward diving planes, propulsion and power generating systems, operation and surveillance of (auxiliary) machinery systems and batteries and systems for submerged operations. - Her integrated information and presentation system (GIPSY) for the SEWACO systems including a towed passive long range sonar system. The system architecture provides integration of weapons and sensors in GIPSY. The fire control is integrated in the GIPSY functions. In order to provide GIPSY with the information and control of subsystems, all major SEWACO subsystems are interfaced with GIPSY.
For a reduced crew the availability of trainers ashore is a necessity:
- In order to make maximum use of the advanced SEWACO-system, operators will be trained using an automated information, processing and display system in a specially designed shore based trainer (the GIPSY trainer); - The submarine PLATFORM trainer consists of a replica of the IMCS and the Steering Control System. It is accommodated on a platform with various mobile facilities to simulate as accurately as possible the behaviour of the submarine.
In 1988, the first sea trials started (Zeeleeuw (2) became the first boat after the building process of Walrus (2) was delayed due to fire damage) followed by sea trials of Walrus (2) in 1990, Dolfijn (4) in 1991 and Bruinvis in 1993.
In 1990, the type-of-class SEWACO trials were done on board Zeeleeuw (2).
In a few months time (at the guarantee overhaul of the last boat, the Bruinvis) the Walrus (2) project will come to an end.
Since 1988, the four submarines have been sailing all over their operational areas and beyond. They have visited ports in Europe, the West Indies, USA and Canada and have sailed as far as ports in the Middle East, thus proving that the Walrus (2) class submarine is capable of operating all over the world.
From Naval Forces Special Issue, 1996.
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