Walrus class submarine © Royal Netherlands Navy
General information
From a hydrodynamic perspective, submarines might be some of the most complex ships today. Due to stealth requirements, strict limitations are posed regarding the radiated noise. Furthermore, tactical and safety requirements dictate high levels of controllability in all six degrees of freedom. Sailing submerged at full speed underneath ice or close to the bottom requires very accurate depth control, while evasive manoeuvres require swift reaction to steering action and small turning diameters.

Services & Activities
MARIN is involved in hull form optimisation, noise & vibration and manoeuvring studies for submarines. Extensive use of CFD is made during the optimisation of the hull form, see here.

Investigations in the seakeeping performance for submerged (snorkelling/snorting) as well as surfaced condition and verification of the stringent demands on the controllability can be examined using our tools or basins. Examples include the steering ability and ship & platform motions for the various degrees of freedom using simulations or model tests.

The Nautical Centre MSCN offers training of the crew and the simulation of special situations and is actively involved in the development of submarine simulators.

The Trials & Monitoring Department is involved in in-service performance monitoring, cavitation observation, noise & vibration measurements and measures loads & responses.

Facilities & Tools
Submarines are tested in the following MARIN facilities:

Resistance and propulsion, Captive/PMM manoeuvring tests
Cavitation, noise and erosion observation, steady oblique motion and flooding tests
Seakeeping and manoeuvring tests using free sailing models and waves from arbitrary directions
Seakeeping and manoeuvring tests in shallow water
PMM tests
Similar as in the Seakeeping and Manoeuvring Basin, for variable water depths, current and waves from arbitrary directions

Submarine behaviour can most notably be evaluated by the RAPID, PARNASSOS, ReFRESCO, SUBSIM, SUBMAR, SAMSON and FREDYN tools.

For information on these and other software tools relevant for submarines, please see:
For manoeuvring, seakeeping and nautical issues here
For resistance & propulsion, noise, erosion and vibration here

Software Sales
Some software tools are available for commercial use outside MARIN. A complete overview of these software tools for sale can be found under Software Sales.

Experience record
The list below gives a review of submarine projects in which MARIN participated:
  • Several multi-nation collaborations on submarines hydrodynamics.
  • Design study of generic submarine (RNLN), 2012-2015
  • Near-bottom effects on submarines (RNLN), 2008-2011
  • Free running model tests for Walrus class submarine (RNLN), 2008
  • Viscous-flow CFD calculations for bare-hull DARPA SUBOFF submarine (RNLN), 2006-2008
  • Upgrade RNLN POWCT submarine trainer in Den Helder (IMTECH), 2005-2006
  • Astute class submarine (BAE Systems), 2005-2006
  • Model tests for WASUB human powered submarine (TUDelft), 2005, 2006
  • Moray class submarine (RDM) during preliminary design phase
  • Walrus class submarine (RNLN) during design phase
  • Large systematic test series for several different submarine hull forms for the Dutch and Canadian navy
  • In total, model tests were made on around 30 different submarine models
Most recent papers on submarines presented by MARIN
(complete overview of papers can be found under Publications)

Modelling of the Plume of a Submerged Exhaust System
Klapwijk, M., Rotte, G., Kerkvliet, M. and Van Terwisga, T., 20th Numerical Towing Tank Symposium (NuTTS), Wageningen, The Netherlands, 2017

CFD Simulations and Experiments of a Maneuvering Generic Submarine and Prognosis for Simulation of Near Surface Operation
Carrica, P.M., Kerkvliet, M., Quadvlieg, F.H.H.A., Pontarelli, M., Martin, J.E., 31st Symposium on Naval Hydrodynamics (ONR), Monterey, CA, 2016

Free Running Manoeuvring Model Tests On A Modern Generic SSK Class Submarine (BB2)
Overpelt, B., Nienhuis. B. and Anderson, B., Pacific International Maritime Conference, Sydney, Australia, 2015

Bow Shape Design For Increased Surface Performance Of An SSK Submarine
Overpelt, B. and Nienhuis. B., RINA Warship 2014: Naval Submarines & UUV’s, Bath, UK, 2014

Improvement Of Resistance And Wake Field Of An Underwater Vehicle By Optimising The Fin-Body Junction Flow With CFD
Toxopeus, S.L., Kuin, R.W.J., Kerkvliet, M., Hoeijmakers, H. and Nienhuis, B., OMAE ASME 33rd International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, San Francisco, CA, 2014

Innovation in the hydrodynamic support for design of submarines
Overpelt, B., 12th International Naval Engineering Conference and Exhibition (INEC), Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2014

Influence on the Numerical Uncertainty of a Generic Submarine Model by Changing the Wall-Normal Distribution of the Wall-Bounded Grid Cells
Kerkvliet, M., 16th Numerical Towing Tank Symposium (NuTTS), Müllheim, Germany, 2013

Collaborative CFD Exercise for a Submarine in a Steady Turn
Toxopeus, S.L., Atsavapranee, P., Wolf, E., Daum, S., Pattenden, R., Widjaja, R., Zhang, J.T. and Gerber, A.G., OMAE ASME 31st International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 2012

Calculation of bottom clearance effects on Walrus submarine hydrodynamics
Bettle, M.C., Toxopeus, S.L. and Gerber, A.G., International Shipbuilding Progress, 2010

Calculation Of Manoeuvring Forces On Submarines Using Two Viscous-Flow Solvers
Vaz, G.N.V.B., Toxopeus, S.L. and Holmes, S., OMAE ASME 29th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, Shanghai, 2010

Channel Transits from Shipyard to open sea of Astute Class submarines
M.P.C. de Jong, O.M. Weiler, J.T.M. van Doorn, F.H.H.A. Quadvlieg, and A. Fryer, PIANC MMX Congress, Liverpool, UK, 2010

Calculation Of Current Or Manoeuvring Forces Using A Viscous-Flow Solver
Toxopeus, S.L. and Vaz, G.N.V.B., OMAE ASME 28th International Conference on Ocean, Offshore and Arctic Engineering, Honolulu, 2009

Viscous-flow calculations for bare hull DARPA SUBOFF submarine at incidence
Toxopeus, S.L., International Shipbuilding Progress, 2008

Multi-ship training for tow-out of a large submarine, featuring advanced tug simulators
J.T.M van Doorn, ITEC, 2000

Hydrodynamic support in the design of submarines
Terwisga, T.J.C. van, and Hooft, J.P., Bicentennial Maritime Symposium, 1988

Most recent submarine articles written for MARIN Report
(complete overview of articles can be found under Publications)

Supporting silent ships: measuring underwater radiated noise from cavitating ship propellers
Have you ever had problems talking to someone in a noisy environment such as a busy restaurant? The same happens to marine animals, which use sound to sense and interact with their environment: for communication, navigation,...

SUBSIM to SAMSON to XMF - 30 years later and still going strong
SUBSIM to SAMSON to XMF – 30 years later and still going strong

Submarine hydrodynamics - from concept to operations
Over the last decade, the research capabilities for submarines have increased significantly. MARIN answers hydrodynamic questions from the early stage concept design to at-sea operational issues.

Retaining and developing submarine knowledge
The Dutch Underwater Knowledge Centre (DUKC) is a network of Dutch knowledge providers on submarine technology.

The Walrus Class submarine and beyond
Report interviews the Commanding Officer of the Dutch Submarine fleet, Captain Hugo Ammerlaan about the Walrus Class service life extension programme and developments concerning the next generation of submarines.

Accurate predictions for noise levels of cavitating propellers now possible
As underwater radiated noise levels in the oceans increases, MARIN has investigated just how much cavitating propellers are to blame.

MARIN assists clients in improving the hydrodynamic performance of submarines
Numerical computations are increasingly used to assess submarine designs.

FreSCo successfully predicts flow around submarine hull
Safety of a submarine and its crew is paramount. To understand and predict a submarine’s behaviour in extreme conditions, insight into hydrodynamics is indispensable. MARIN and the Royal Netherlands Navy have teamed up in an...

Free Running Model tests shed light on the elusive world of the submarine
Free Running Model tests have always been in common use at MARIN, given that they offer the most accurate picture of a ship’s behaviour. However, this technique is also important for submarines. But until now, little has been...

BB2 dataset
This data is freely available for download on this MARIN website; usage is unlimited as long as reference is made to the source and the original Pacific2015 paper.
Users of the data are also requested to report their findings back.

For more information on how MARIN can help your organisation with submarines, please contact:
the MARIN navy team at

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