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03 Nov 2022

Changes Ahead For Swedish Naval Plans

Changes Ahead For Swedish Naval Plans
Image: Saab image
Originally posted on Naval News

The Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine led the then-Swedish government to earlier this year issue a request for the Commander in Chief of the Swedish Armed Forces to issue a report on his recommendations on the future of the Swedish Armed Forces for the periods 2024 to 2030 as well as 2031 to 2035. The recommendations have now been published, and while much is in line with current planning the recommendations also include adaptions to the upcoming Swedish NATO-membership and faster capability growth in light of the deteriorating security situation. It should be emphasized that these are the recommendations of the Armed Forces and are still awaiting political approval.

For the Navy, the upcoming YSF 2030-program will see changes. The heavy corvettes, based on an enlarged design of the current Visby-class, will be tailored towards greater ability to operate as part of NATO’s Standing Maritime Groups and receive longer-ranged air defences compared to the current generation of Visby-class vessels. This will also allow them to serve as a part of NATO’s integrated air and missile defences (IAMD). Similarly, the design of a replacement for the current Koster- and Spårö-class minehunters will include a requirement to be able to operate as part of NATO’s Standing Mine Countermeasures Groups, though these are to enter service only after 2035. In mine warfare in general more materiel and equipment will be acquired both for the minelaying and the countermeasures work, including more vessels able to transport and lay mines.  

While the upcoming A26 Blekinge-class submarines are yet to enter service, the design of a submarine to replace the current Gotland-class after 2035 is envisioned under the designation Ubåt 2030 (‘Submarine 2030’). The replacement of the submarine rescue capability in the form of the mothership HSwMS Belos and the submarine rescue vessel URF is set for delivery approximately 2034-2035, and possibility of cooperation with NATO-allies will be investigated for both projects.

For the marines and coastal forces, a second anti-ship missile battery is on the list, as are two further companies of marines to be added to the force. At the same time, a new class of landing craft to replace the current CB 90H is to be acquired starting in the 2024-2030 period, and the marine units will receive additional capabilities including UAVs and anti-aircraft systems.

Swedish HKP 14F / NH90 helicopter. Tredje helikopterskvadronen/Försvarsmakten

A key change to the Swedish maritime capabilities envisioned is the retirement of the current maritime helicopters, including both the light AW109 which flies a number of missions in support of the Navy, including ship-to-shore transfers and reconnaissance, as well as the NH90. The Swedish Air Force currently operate nine NH90 of the HKP 14F-variant, which is a unique Swedish maritime variant based on TTH but sporting a number of modifications such as sea surveillance radar and dipping sonar. It is expected that the MH-60R Seahawk will replace the NH90 on a one-to-one basis, while the AW109 apparently would be withdrawn without a direct replacement. FOC for the new helicopter would be in the 2031 to 2035 timespan.

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