This story was updated Sept. 14, 2023, at 9:33 a.m. EST to reflect a response from Saab.

LONDON — Several defense groups spanning two continents have expressed interest in bidding on Poland’s Orka submarine program, with some pitching their products at this year’s DSEI show in London.

In July, Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak announced the ministry’s Armament Agency was launching a market consultation process to collect initial bids from industry players. Lt. Col. Grzegorz Polak, a spokesperson for the agency, recently told local news agency PAP that 11 entities applied, including companies from “European countries: Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Italy, but also the Republic of Korea.”

The available information indicates Warsaw aims to buy three to four submarines.

A manager from German submarine builder ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems told Defense News in London that the company understands “Poland is looking for a submarine that would be well-suited for the Baltic Sea, a large unit.” The submarine on offer could be made at the company’s new assembly line at the shipyard in Kiel, Germany, which ThyssenKrupp is launching this week, he said.

“Our offer comprises the HDW-class submarines: the Type 212A, which was designed for Baltic Sea operations, the export variant of the Type 214, or a compromise between the two, the Type 212 CD which has been ordered by the German Navy and Royal Norwegian Navy,” according to the manager, who would only speak on the condition of anonymity.

While the ministry analyzes applications, local media outlet Defence24 reported other participants in the market consultation include France’s Naval Group, Italy’s Fincantieri, Spain’s Navantia, South Korea’s Hanwha and Hyundai companies, Sweden’s Saab, and the U.K.’s Babcock, among others.

Defense News visited the booths of Navantia and Naval Group at DSEI. The former’s representative declined to comment, and a representative for the latter said its submarine expert was unavailable.

Saab told Defense News in an email that the company has “experience in developing submarines for the complex operational challenges in the Baltic Sea and beyond. We are proud to have been invited to the market consultation and look forward to continued dialogue with Poland.”.

Jaroslaw Adamowski is the Poland correspondent for Defense News.

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