As a member of the NSL I always read ‘THE SUBMARINE REVIEW with great interest.
I have, however, found that the knowledge of the Swedish Submarine Force is somewhat lacking. Obviously we who are associated with the Swedish Navy are very poor PR people. Our submarines belong perhaps to the most silent service in the world!
The Dutch Navy is far better in the PR department. Last year they sent one of their newest submarines on a goodwill tour to the US east coast and thus got a long, interesting article about their submarine force in THE SUBMARINE REVIEW.
In the October issue was an article about the new Australian submarines, the COLLINS Class. An informative article indeed, but unfortunately the Australian author forget to mention that the submarines are constructed on drawings made by the Swedish submarine manufactory Koclrum’s Submarine Systems, who also built the first one-third of the first boat in the building halls in MalmO, Sweden. In Adelaide, Australia the COLLINS Class in general are built by the Australian Submarine Corporation, SO percent owned by Koclrums. The contract was awarded after hard competition with the world’s leading builders of diesel subs.
The new Swedish GOTLAND Class, now building, stood as a model for the COLLINS Class, although the latter is double in size and specially constructed for operations in the vast areas outside Australia.
Not only is the GOTLAND hull of Swedish construction but also its command and control system is homemade by the Swedish firm CelsiusTech. This system, modified for surface craft, was purchased by the Australians for their new frigates, the ANZACS.
As an attack submarine, the GOTLAND is armed with the latest in torpedo technics. Both the new light ASW torpedo 43×2 and the new heavy one, Type 2000, are wireguided and homing. They were designed and are produced by Bofors Underwater Systems, in Motala, Sweden.
It is, therefore, appropriate to offer a few remarks on Sweden’s tradition in submarines. The Swedish Navy was in fact one of the first that procured submarines. The young naval architect, Carl Richson, was sent to the USA to study submarines at the John P. Holland factory in 1900. In 1904 the first sub HAJEN (Shark), a construction ofRicbson’s, was launched by the Stockholm Navy Yard. She was shortly followed by three sister boats. Thus Sweden was ahead of Germany!
The HAJEN had a displacement of only 107/127 tons and the Navy wanted bigger boats that could operate in open sea. In 1907 a 400 tonner was ordered from Italy and in 1909 she took the long trip to Sweden, a heroic task in those early years. After that, all following subs were designed and built in Sweden.
As the waters around Sweden’s 2700 km coastline are very shallow (average 300 feet), the Swedes have been experts in that type of operation areas. They did not take part in activities of either world war, although one 800 ton sub was sunk with all hands in World War n after hitting a mine laid by the Germans in an exercise area inside Swedish national waters, which at that time extended out only three miles from the shoreline.
After the 1939-1945 war, the Swedish Navy salvaged a German type XXI boat and obtained very good information of this advanced submarine by cutting it into pieces. Some years later a new SHARK was launched at the Kockums yard, a Guppy type of 750 tons. That was the start for the modem building programme that up to this day has been successful.
I think that Tom Clancy has put the Swedish submarine situation of today rather clearly in his new book Submarine (1993). He says:
“Of all nations that operate submarines, none is probably less understood and more underestimated than Sweden. The Swedes have always had an independent streak when it comes to defence issues, and this is certainly true of their submarine force. At the moment they produce some of the most advanced conventionally powered submarines in the world. Their boats have a decidedly inshore design philoso-phy, consistent with the Swedish requirements of operating in the Baltic. In addition the Swedes are leaders in non-nuclear air independent propulsion (AlP) systems. Current-ly they are finishing the development of the GOTLAND (Al9) Class boats, equipped with a Sterling AlP system to keep the batteries charged for longer submerged endurance. Like all other nations, the Swedes are aggressively market-ing their boats for export (but obviously not in the USA! (Ibis is the author’s remark.)) They have had a particular success with the sale of six boats to Australia.”
Concerning AlP systems, the Swedish Navy, during the 60s, thought of and started some construction on a nuclear powered submarine but studies showed that the boat would be far too big for operations in the shallow waters of the Baltic.
The next Swedish submarine construction effort, the Type 2000. is moving through the Swedish BuShips and the Kockums Company. The aim is to make her extremely stealthy to sonar transmissions, with very long submerged endurance (AlP), and of still better capability for littoral operations.
Many articles in THE SUBMARINE REVIEW, Naval Institute Proceedings, and other US journals deal today with submarine operations in littoral waters. Since the Swedish Navy has conducted intensive operations against foreign intruders in their own littoral waters during the last ten years, they may have some assistance to offer in these matters.