Keel laid for Swedish Navy’s first Blekinge-class submarine

Swedish aerospace and defence company Saab has held a keel-laying ceremony for the Swedish Navy’s first Blekinge-class submarine at its shipyard in Karlskrona.

During the ceremony which took place on 30 June, the first hull sections were placed next to another to be joined. In 2015, Sweden ordered two Blekinge-class submarines.

Photo: Saab

At that time, new submarines had not been built in Sweden for more than 20 years. Since that day, Sweden has worked on regaining the capability.

“The submarine competence places Sweden among one of few nations in the world with the capability to build modern and advanced submarines. The ceremony is not only a milestone for HMS Blekinge, it is also proof that Sweden has regained the capability. We are looking forward to when her sister HMS Skåne will follow in her tracks,” said Micael Johansson, President and CEO Saab.

The Blekinge-class submarines, also designated as A26, will measure 66.1 meters in length with a beam of 6.75 meters. They will displace 1,925 tons.

HMS Blekinge and HMS HMS Skåne will be capable of fielding missiles in addition to the traditional load of mines and torpedoes.

The new design will also feature what Saab refers to as the Multi Mission Portal, a special forces launcher placed next to the torpedo tubes in the nose of the boat would allow divers to swim out horizontally.

The portal will be wide enough for the launch and retrieval of diverse mission payloads such as manned and unmanned vehicles.

The submarines are scheduled to replace the current Gotland-class submarines, for which Saab recently received a contract to conduct mid-life upgrade.

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Saab will conduct an extensive MLU on Sweden’s Gotland-class submarine HMS Halland, including an overhaul and upgrade of the combat system. The total order value is SEK 1.1 billion (around $116 million).