KIELCE, Poland — As Poland plans to purchase three new submarines for its navy, Sweden’s Saab Kockums hopes to take a leading position in the race through its cooperation with a local shipyard.

Last year, Saab Kockums was awarded a deal to build a special purpose signals intelligence ship, or SIGINT, for the Swedish Navy under a deal worth 730 million krona, (U.S. $92 million). After the deal was awarded, the group recruited the Gdynia-based Nauta Shiprepair Yard as its subcontractor for a portion of the contract. Their cooperation on the procurement could pave the way for further partnership on Poland’s submarine program, dubbed the Orka, according to Saab’s representatives.

“Nauta meets, or even exceeds our expectations. Our decision to choose a Polish shipyard for this program … proved to work well,” Jyrki Kujansuu, head of the Poland and Baltics unit at Saab, told Defense News at the MSPO defense industry show in Kielce.

According to Kujansuu, Nauta won the contract for the Swedish special purpose vessel in a competition procedure. A major benefit of the deal is that it represents a chance for Nauta and Saab to learn more about each other’s capabilities for potential future joint programs.

“They are ready to work with us on the submarine procurement,” he said.

The ministry estimates the deal, under which Poland’s Navy is to replace its outdated Kobben-class subs, could be worth an estimated 10 billion zloty, (U.S. $2.8 billion). Warsaw recently decided to overhaul two of its subs, but with the Kobbens scheduled to be decommissioned in 2018 and 2020, respectively, the tender is key to the preservation of Poland’s operational capacities in the Baltic Sea.

In addition to Saab, France’s DCNS with its Scorpene-class sub, and German ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems with the HDW-class sub have applied to take part in the procurement procedure.

Nauta is a subsidiary of PGZ, the country’s leading state-run defense group, with its headquarters in Radom, in central Poland.