Defense

Swedish military sharpens its focus on submarine tech in 2024

MILAN — Sweden is on track to prioritize research on underwater technologies like mine countermeasures and submarine-related systems in

Swedish military sharpens its focus on submarine tech in 2024



MILAN — Sweden is on track to prioritize research on underwater technologies like mine countermeasures and submarine-related systems in 2024, with studies pending on the navy’s capabilities in that domain.

Swedish defense prime Saab announced on Dec. 5 that it had signed a contract with the country’s defense acquisition agency to conduct concept development studies focused on new technologies for submarine-related capabilities.

“This contract should be viewed as one step of a long-term plan to secure underwater capabilities for Sweden,” company spokesman Conal Walker told Defense News. “Saab will study needs and possibilities for the future underwater domain, and this will include various concepts and technologies to both current and future capabilities.”

Meanwhile, the study’s results could find application in the company’s ongoing work on Sweden’s new submarines.

Saab was contracted in 2015 by the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) to build two new Type A26 submarines for the country’s naval forces. The project has undergone several delays, where the delivery date of the first submarine was initially scheduled for this year, but has reportedly been postponed to 2027-2028.

If Sweden’s pending NATO membership is approved, one of the key defense assets Stockholm can contribute to the alliance is its experience in navigating the Baltic Sea, a vulnerable arm of the Atlantic Ocean shared with Russia.

The Royal Swedish Navy currently operates five diesel-electric submarines. Once the new boats are completed, they will offer the capability to release unmanned underwater vehicles and special forces for improved subsurface operations.

Meanwhile, Swedish defense officials are also interested in the acquisition of light, autonomous, underwater vehicles to meet the Mine Counter Measure (MCM) needs of its armed forces.

A notice to that effect was published on Dec. 4 by the Tenders Electronic Daily, an European online catalog of public procurements. It notes that the envisioned underwater drones will cost around $14 million and must be light enough to handle by crews riding in rigid inflatable boats.

Nations are increasingly turning to drones for the dangerous work of disabling sea mines.

The NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), based in Italy, has been conducting tests to determine how feasible the use of high-resolution sonars mounted on sea drones is for the identification and classification of mines.

Elisabeth Gosselin-Malo is a Europe correspondent for Defense News. She covers a wide range of topics related to military procurement and international security, and specializes in reporting on the aviation sector. She is based in Milan, Italy.



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