|Preceded by||Gotland class|
|In service||Under development|
|Displacement||1,900 long tons (1,930 t)|
|Length||63 m (206 ft 8 in)|
|Beam||6.4 m (21 ft 0 in)|
|Draught||6 m (19 ft 8 in)|
|Propulsion||Diesel-electric and Stirling AIP|
|Endurance||45 days (18 days underwater with AIP)|
|Test depth||200 m (656 ft 2 in)|
The Blekinge-class submarine is next generation of submarines developed by Kockums for the Swedish Navy, also known as the A26 type. First planned at the beginning of the 1990s, the project was called "U-båt 2000" and was intended to be ready by the late 1990s or early 2000. With the end of the Cold War the naval threat from the Soviet Union disappeared and the new submarine class was deemed unnecessary. The project lay dormant for years until the mid-2000s when the need for a replacement for the Södermanland class became apparent. Originally the Scandinavian countries had intended to collaborate on the Viking class, but Denmark's withdrawal from submarine operations meant that Kockums proceeded on their own.
In February 2014 the project was cancelled because of disagreements between Kockums's new German owners, ThyssenKrupp, and the Swedish government. ThyssenKrupp refused to send a complete offer to any potential buyer, and demanded that each one buyer pay for the entire development rather than sharing the cost. The cancellation resulted in the Kockums equipment repossession incident on 8 April 2014. As per protocol, The Swedish government repossessed all equipment belonging to Defence Materiel Administration (Sweden), as well as all secret blueprints and images, using an armed escort. By orders from a manager, Kockums staff tried to sabotage the repossession by locking the gates with the repossession crew and escort still inside.
Maritime Today on 18 March 2015 reported that the project was restarted after the Swedish government placed a formal order for two A26 submarines for a maximum total cost of SEK 8.2 bn (approximately US$945 Million as of 18 March 2015). According to the article, a Letter of Intent (LOI) had earlier been signed by Saab and FMV (The Swedish Defence Material Administration) in June 2014 regarding the Swedish Armed Forces’ underwater capability for the period 2015–2024. Saab has since acquired Kockums. The order in question for the two A26 submarines has been placed with what is now "SAAB Kockums." These were to be delivered no later than 2022, a date subsequently pushed back, initially to 2024-24 and subsequently even further to 2027-28.
The new submarine project was intended to be an improved version of the Gotland class, which will be considered obsolete around 2015–2017 according to Per Skantz, development co-ordinator at the Marine headquarters in Stockholm. The submarine would displace 1,900 tonnes and have a crew complement of between 17 and 31 men. The 2008–2010 military budget memorandum to the Minister for Defence by the Supreme Commander Håkan Syrén would require the type to cost no more than the current Gotland class (about 1.5 billion SEK). The new submarine would have blue water capability, something earlier Swedish submarines have lacked. It will be equipped with modified AIP stirling propulsion and GHOST (Genuine HOlistic STealth) technology, making the submarine extremely quiet. It will also be designed to withstand significant shock loads from underwater explosions and would be able to "Launch and recover vehicles" through its torpedo tubes. The submarine's sail would largely be composed of the same material that was used when constructing the Visby-class corvettes.
There are three variants available: the Pelagic, Oceanic, and Oceanic (Extended Range). The entire Blekinge-class submarine family has been offered for export equipped with 18 vls-cells for Tomahawk cruise missiles.
On 25 February 2010 Kockums AB signed a contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) concerning the overall design phase of the next-generation submarine. Kockums CEO, Ola Alfredsson, stated that "This is an important first step, not only for Kockums, but for the Swedish Armed Forces as a whole. We shall now be able to maintain our position at the cutting edge of submarine technology, which is vital in the light of current threat scenarios."
On 11 April 2010 the Swedish Defence minister Sten Tolgfors announced plans to acquire two new submarines to be commissioned in 2018–19 replacing the two submarines of the Södermanland class. The plans also included a Mid-Life Upgrade program of two submarines of the Gotland class. Additional submarines could later be ordered to replace the Gotland class, however this will not be decided before 2020.
The first submarine was planned to be laid down by the end of 2012, but as of 2013 no submarines have yet been ordered. In September 2013 it was announced that the project had been delayed because of construction issues and the first submarine would not be ready before 2020.
Order cancelled and alternatives
On 27 February 2014 the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) cancelled its plans for ordering the A26 submarine from Kockums. According to FMV the new Kockums owner, the German company Thyssen Krupp has refused to allow Sweden to share the cost with any other nation, making the submarine too expensive. Sweden has instead approached Saab. Saab plans to rehire many of Kockums submarine engineers if they receive orders for a new submarine. As a result, Saab recruited top people from Kockums and issued a press release that the company was seeking employees for its naval division. In a letter to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, the head of the German ThyssenKrupp Marine Division, Dr. Hans Atzpodien begs FMV to stop Saab from recruiting key personnel from Kockums. On 2 April 2014 the Swedish government officially terminated all talks about a deal with ThyssenKrupp.
On 14 April 2014 about 200 employees had left Thyssen Krupp for Saab and it was reported that Saab and Thyssen Krupp had started to negotiate about selling Kockums. In June 2014 Thyssen Krupp agreed to sell Kockums to Saab.
On 22 July 2014 it was announced that Saab had bought Kockums from Thyssen Krupp for 340 million SEK. The new name will be Saab Kockums.
On 12 September 2014, Saab Kockums proposed a 4,000-ton variant of the submarines, known as the type 612, for the Royal Australian Navy to replace their ageing Collins-class submarine, however the DCNS entry based on the Shortfin Barracuda class was selected instead.
In December 2014 an agreement between Saab and Damen Shipyards was announced to jointly develop, offer and build next-generation submarines (based on the Type 612 design). Initially focused on replacing the four Walrus-class submarines currently in use by the Royal Netherlands Navy by 2025 combined with the still existing Swedish submarine requirements after cancellation of the previous A26 program.
During a visit to Kockums facilities on 30 June 2015 the Swedish defence minister, Peter Hultqvist, announced that two submarines will be ordered for a cost of 8.2 billion SEK (US$ 867 million). The two submarines were to be delivered to the Swedish Navy in 2024 and 2025.  However, in 2021 it was indicated that the delivery date had slipped by a further three years, to 2027–28, and the costs had risen by SEK5.2 billion (or USD600 million).
A26 Blekinge submarines have been offered to Polish Navy as a possible choice for the "Orka" modernization programme which is to be introduced by 2025.
Italics indicate estimates
|Ship name||Laid down||Launched||Delivered||Commissioned||Service||Status||Coat of arms|
|HSwMS Blekinge||4 September 2015||Expected by 2027||Under construction|
|HSwMS Skåne||Expected by 2028||Under construction|
- Collins-class submarine
- Type 214 submarine
- Type 216 submarine
- Scorpène-class submarine
- S-80-class submarine
- Lada-class submarine
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