On Wednesday munitions group Saab provided a status update for the next generation of submarines, A26, being built at Karlskrona.
Planned delivery for the submarines, which are to have a multi-mission portal in the hull for divers and underwater vehicles to enter and exit the boat, was 2022. However Saab now believes it could be earlier.
The contract is worth SKr 7.6 billion although Allan Widman (L), chair of the parliamentary committee on defence, reported defence minister Peter Hultqvist to the committee on the constitution for not releasing information about an export condition attached to the contract and criticised him for not informing them that the price could change. However Saab’s head of submarines, Gunnar Wieslander, is confident they will remain within budget.
Sweden’s new submarine A26, of which the state has ordered two from defence group Saab, has been harshly criticised. The criticism focuses on a portal, fiercely marketed by Saab, which can release divers and special forces into the water. Former commander and head of the three Swedish Näcken-class submarines, Nils Bruzelius, says that the portal cannot be used in the situations it is designed for.
However Mats Eolfsson, from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), which has paid almost SKr 8 billion for the submarines, has dismissed the criticism saying the portal is flexible and could also be used for new weapons.
The Saab defence group’s hopes of supplying Norway with future submarines were dashed on Thursday, when Norway’s Ministry of Defence said it had shortlisted Germany’s Thyssen Krupp and France’s DCNS as possible suppliers.
Defence Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide said that a submarine cooperation with either France or Germany would ensure that Norway would get the submarines it needed, while contributing to “a more efficient armaments cooperation in NATO”.
The minister also made clear that Norway would be willing to cooperate with other countries in need of new submarines, namely the Netherlands and Poland.
Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist has told public service broadcaster SVT that the government will be placing an SKr 8.2 billion order for two new submarines from Saab Kockums. The minister announced the news while visiting the Karlskrona shipyard on Tuesday, although a formal decision will not be made until Thursday. The submarines will be delivered in 2022.