Sweden contracts Saab to conduct future underwater capability studies

Saab Kockums A26
Saab Kockums A26

Swedish defence systems house Saab has been contracted by FMV – Sweden’s defence materiel administration – to conduct concept development studies for future underwater capabilities, the company announced on 5 December.

The studies are preparatory in nature and will focus on further development for Sweden of both key existing technology areas and new technologies for submarines and submarine-related capabilities, the company explained in a statement.

Sweden’s long-established history of developing highly capable underwater systems is reflected in Saab’s current build of two state-of-the-art diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) – the A26 Blekinge-class boats – for the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN), and the company’s continued development of a collection of autonomous and remotely-operated uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs) to meet both defence and commercial sector requirements. The company’s statement noted that central to Sweden’s approach to building underwater capability is adding new technologies to already-existing platforms and capabilities through what it referred to as an iterative development process.

Sweden has declared underwater capabilities, particularly submarines, to be a ‘vital interest’ for the country’s national security.

“Saab’s submarines are among the most modern conventional submarines in the world and a key capability for Sweden,” Mats Wicksell, a Saab Senior Vice President and head of the company’s Kockums ship- and submarine-building business area, said in the statement. “These studies will help ensure we stay at the forefront of innovation and technological development for years to come.”

“We will study needs and possibilities for the future underwater domain,” Mattias Rådström, Saab’s Head of Media relations, told Armada International. “This will include various concepts and technologies related to both current and future underwater capabilities.”

The contract will enable Saab to work continuously on technology and capability development to secure key competencies in order to maintain a leading position in delivering innovation and technology for the underwater domain, said Rådström. “This contract should be viewed as one step of a long-term plan to secure underwater capabilities for Sweden,” he added.

by Dr. Lee Willett