The submarines were in high demand by NATO during the Cold War since they combined a highly skilled crew with a very silent boat. At that time the majority of NATO submarines were either Nuclear or Brown water subs. After the cold war, the subs have been tasked for many intelligence gathering operations (still classified) in the Yugoslavian region, Iraq and Caribbean.
In 2007, the cabinet approved an upgrade of the four operational subs and recruitment of additional crew to improve overall operational availability. The upgrades are focussed on near-shore operations and integration with new weapons. These include the US migration from the current MK 48 mod-4 torpedo to the mod-7 version.
In June 2010, Netherlands agreed to deploy one submarine to help combat piracy in the waters off Somalia. Possible missions could include, signals intelligence; going close to shore and intercepting pirates' radio signals, and the tracking of Pirate Vessels.
- Displacement: 2,350 t surfaced, 2,650 t submerged, 1,900 t standard
- Dimensions: 67.73 x 8.4 x 6.6 m
- Propulsion: 3 SEMT Pielstick diesels, 1 Holec mainmotor, 1 shaft, 6 blades
- Speed: 13 knots surfaced, 20 knots submerged
- Complement: 50 to 55
- Surface Search Radar: DECCA 1229
- Sonar Systems: Thomson Sintra TSM 2272 Eledone Octopus, GEC Avionics Type 2026 towed array, Thomson Sintra DUUX 5B passive ranging and intercept
- Fire Control: HSA SEWACO VIII action data automation, GTHW integrated Harpoon and torpedo FCS
- Armament: 4 x 21 inch (533mm) torpedo tubes (20 Honeywell Mk 48 or Honeywell NT 37 torpedoes, mines, SubHarpoon SSM)
*a otra cosa mariposa...