Sights set on the replacement of submarines, part 2

Procurement phase reviewed

Provisional award decision for new submarines: careful and transparent
The Minister of Defence’s decision to procure 4 new submarines from Naval Group was taken carefully and in accordance with the rules. The Netherlands Court of Audit comes to this conclusion following an investigation of the award process. We also conclude that the minister has not provided up-to-date information on all lifecycle costs, for instance for weapon systems and operation. The overall budget necessary for the submarines will therefore be higher.

The replacement of 4 Walrus-class submarines will be one of the ministry’s biggest projects in the years ahead, costing billions of euros. The Netherlands is not buying submarines off the shelf. The Court of Audit also investigated the financial risks and how adequately the minister had informed parliament. Parliament can draw on the Court’s audit in its debates on the submarines’ procurement.

What were our audit questions?

We asked a series of questions to determine whether procurement of the new submarines was in accordance with the rules and whether parliament had received sufficient and appropriate information from the Minister of Defence. Our audit answered the following questions:

  • to what extent did the proposed award comply with the rules;
  • to what extent was the final decision on the submarines consistent with the previously identified requirements; 
  • to what extent were decisions in the procurement process underpinned;
  • to what extent did Dutch industry’s involvement comply with the rules;
  • whether the Minister of Defence had an insight into the total costs;
  • whether other investments had to be postponed because of this project;
  • whether subprojects (such as weapon systems) were in step with the submarines’ replacement;
  • whether the minister controlled the risks effectively; and
  • whether the minister had sufficiently and appropriately informed parliament about the submarines’ replacement. 

Do you have any feedback on this audit?

We welcome all feedback on our audits and investigations. What do you think about our report? If you have any questions or need further information, mail us at We read all emails carefully and treat them in confidence.