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HNLMS Walrus S802 – First Unit of the Dutch Walrus Class Submarine Officially Retired

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    HNLMS Walrus S802 – First Unit of the Dutch Walrus Class Submarine Officially Retired

    After 31 years of operation, the first submarine of the Walrus class – HNLMS Walrus S802, has been officially retired by the Dutch Navy. With a ceremony and lowering of the war banner, HNLMS Walrus, which has been operational since 1992, became the first of four Walrus class submarines to be retired in stages.

    Quoted from defense-aerospace.com (10/13/2023), this submarine retirement ceremony marks the end of an era and the start of a new chapter. The Dutch Ministry of Defense is currently in the process of acquiring four submarines. 

    This is one of the most extensive replacement processes in years. A decision will be made in 2024 regarding which shipyard will be appointed to build a replacement submarine for the Walrus class.

    HNLMS Walrus is not completely ‘gone’. The Dutch Navy uses these ship parts as spare parts to maintain the operational operation of three Walrus class submarines, HNLMS Zeeleeuw, HNLMS Dolfijn and HNLMS Porpoiss, which will continue to sail in the coming years.

    In 31 years of operation, HNLMS Walrus and its entire crew have spent a total of 3,000 days at sea. The submarine was deployed 14 times in military operations and also carried out countless exercises and training. The Walrus class is the pride of the Netherlands, because this submarine was built by the local Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij shipyard.

    "The withdrawal of the Walrus class will help the navy to focus on the future," said Navy Captain Jeroen van Zanten, Commander of the Dutch Navy's Submarine Unit.

    In the long term, the second Walrus class submarine (HNLMS Zeeleeuw) will also suffer the same fate, but it is not yet known when. The Dutch Navy will continue to operate with two Walrus class submarines until the first new submarine arrives. This could take at least another 10 years (around 2030), then the last Walrus class submarine (HNLMS Bruinvis) will also be retired.

    The Walrus class is named after marine mammals, known for their intelligence and agility underwater. Dutch submarines are renowned throughout the world for their advanced technology for carrying out ‘invisible’ underwater maritime operations.

    From the specifications, the Walrus class has a surface weight (2,350 tons) and a diving weight (2,650 tons). The Walrus class is 67.7 meters long, 8.4 meters wide and can dive to a depth of 300 meters. 

    This submarine relies on equipment also supplied by Dutch companies, such as the Signaal/Racal ZW 07 surface search radar and Thomson Sintra TSM 2272 Eledone Octopus sonar.

    The Walrus class is equipped with four 533 mm caliber torpedo launch tubes. The pair of torpedoes carried are Honeywell Mk 48 or Honeywell NT 37. The stock of torpedoes carried is quite large, 20 units can be carried in one sailing. From the torpedo tube, UGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles and sea mines can also be launched.

    Manned by 50-55 personnel, the Walrus class is powered by 3x diesel electric engines with a power of 5,430 shp (4 MW). Surface speed is 13 knots and maximum speed when diving is 20 knots. With a cruising speed of 9 knots, this submarine can sail as far as 18,500 km.

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