On 07 June 2023, the Norwegian Armed Forces published a document including the advice of the Chief of Norwegian Defense, General Eirik Kristoffersen, taking into account recent developments in the security environment. In his advice, General Kristoffersen prioritizes an increase in the number of submarines from four to six.
The Norwegian Chief of Defence recommends the scalable renewal of both the Navy’s and the Coast Guard’s vessel structure, which also entails a volume increase in the maritime domain, as described under the maritime surface structure focus area. He believes that the increase will contribute to an enhanced presence, the ability to solve parallel assignments and operational availability.
Given the economic scope for manoeuvre, the Chief of Defence recommends increasing the number of submarines from four to six. An increase from four to six submarines takes higher priority than an increase from four to six frigates. An increased number of submarines will double the operational availability.
“Submarines are difficult to detect in submerged state, and in the short and medium term, no technology has been identified that will challenge this. This strengthening will increase the Armed Forces’ ability to deny an adversary freedom of operation and increase the ability to combat an adversary’s maritime forces.”
Eirik Kristoffersen, the Chief of Norwegian Defence
In March 2021, the Norwegian Ministry of Defense ordered four Type 212CD submarines from Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). Construction will begin in 2023. The first submarine is expected to be delivered to the Royal Norwegian Navy in 2028, and the project is expected to be completed in 2033.
The Chief of Defence accordingly recommends restoring the ability to lay sea mines from surface vessels, aircraft and submarines. Sea mines are a cost-effective tool that contributes to protection in the maritime domain. In addition to the acquisition of the mines and the establishment of a centre of expertise, these are capabilities that do not require significant investments, because existing aircraft and vessels can be used to lay the actual mines.