The Blekinge-class submarine is next generation of submarines developed by Kockums for the Swedish Navy,[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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.[7][8]

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.[9] The order in question for the two A26 submarines has been placed with what is now "SAAB Kockums."[10][11] These were to be delivered no later than 2022, a date subsequently pushed back, initially to 2024-24[12] and subsequently even further to 2027-28.[13]


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.[14] The submarine would displace 1,900 tonnes[4] and have a crew complement of between 17 and 31 men.[15] 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).[14] 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.[16] The submarine's sail would largely be composed of the same material that was used when constructing the Visby-class corvettes.[17]

There are three variants available: the Pelagic, Oceanic, and Oceanic (Extended Range).[18] The entire Blekinge-class submarine family has been offered for export equipped with 18 vls-cells for Tomahawk cruise missiles.[19]


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."[20][21]

The Royal Norwegian Navy had shown interest in the project and could be interested to buy several submarines in the future. According to Kockums AB orders must be made by the end of 2010.[22][23]

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.[1][2]

On 16 June 2010, the Swedish Parliament authorised the government to procure two new submarines.[24][25] Kockums states that construction of two A26 submarines will generate about 170 jobs.[26]

The first submarine was planned to be laid down by the end of 2012, but as of 2013 no submarines have yet been ordered.[27] 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.[28]

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.[29][30] Saab plans to rehire many of Kockums submarine engineers if they receive orders for a new submarine.[31][32] 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.[33]

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.[34] In June 2014 Thyssen Krupp agreed to sell Kockums to Saab.[35]

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.[36]

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).[37] 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).[38] The two submarines were to be delivered to the Swedish Navy in 2024 and 2025. [39] 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).[40]

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[39][41] 4 September 2015[42] Expected by 2027 Under construction[43]
HSwMS Skåne[39][44] Expected by 2028 Under construction

See also


  1. ^ a b Karlberg, Lars Anders (12 April 2010). "Tolgfors beställer nya ubåtar och nya helikoptrar" [Tolgfors order new submarines and new helicopters]. Ny Teknik (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 16 June 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Sverige ska satsa på nya ubåtar" [Sweden to invest in new submarines]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). 11 April 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  3. ^ "Saab Awarded Contract For A26 Submarine For Sweden". 16 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 August 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f "A26 Submarine type A26" (PDF). Kockums. Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 June 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2010.
  5. ^ "Kockums A26: Designed to Meet Future Challenges". Saab Group. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2015.
  6. ^ dead link[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ a b Sköld, Josefin (5 May 2014). "Sanningen om den hemliga gryningsräden mot Kockums". Dagens Nyheter. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  8. ^ Svennson, Gunnar (20 May 2014). "Sanningen om räden mot Kockums". Blekinge läns tidning. Retrieved 27 January 2020.
  9. ^ Abrahamson, Håkan. "Klart att Saab köper Kockums" [Clearly Saab buying Kockums] (in Swedish). SE: Ny Teknik. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  10. ^ Hallberg, Michelle (17 March 2015). "SAAB Kockums får ny beställning på 2 ubåtar". SVT. SVT. Archived from the original on 18 March 2015. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  11. ^ Runol, Runol (17 March 2015). "Nya ubåtar ska utvecklas i Malmö". Sydsvenska Dagbladet. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  12. ^ Karlsson, Jenny (17 March 2015). "Regeringen köper två nya ubåtar till 2022". Omni. Retrieved 18 March 2015.
  13. ^ "Saab, FMV, renegotiate a 26 submarine contract as costs rise, schedule slips".
  14. ^ a b Karlberg, Lars Anders (1 March 2007). "ÖB vill ha Kockums nya tysta u-båt A26" [Supreme Commander wants Kockums' new silent submarine A26]. Ny Teknik (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 24 April 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  15. ^ Kleja, Monica (21 December 2007). "Kockums fick ja till ny smygubåt" [Kockums got yes for new stealth submarine]. Ny Teknik (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 8 June 2011. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  16. ^ The Way Forward, Nordkaparen[permanent dead link].
  17. ^ "Kompositskrov även i superubåten" [Composite Hull also in super submarine], Ny Teknik (in Swedish)
  18. ^ "Saab Expands its A26 Submarine Offer with now Three Variants to Choose From". Navy Recognition. 31 August 2017.
  19. ^ Yeo, Mike (17 May 2017). "Saab A26 submarine gets vertical launched Tomahawks". Defense News. Sightline Media Group.
  20. ^ "Sweden Launches Next-Generation Submarine Project". Defence talk. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  21. ^ "Kockums konstruerar spionubåtar" [Kockums constructs spy submarines]. Svenska Dagbladet (in Swedish). Tidningarnas Telegrambyrå. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  22. ^ Enarsson, Lars-Göran (27 November 2008). "Kockums kan få bygga svensknorska ubåtar" [Kockums can build Swedish Norwegian submarines]. Blekinge Läns Tidning (in Swedish). Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2012.
  23. ^ "Norway Should Maintain Submarine Fleet: Study", Defense news, archived from the original on 21 January 2013.
  24. ^ "Swedish Parliament Approves Procuring of New Submarines". 24 June 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  25. ^ "Riksdagen tar beslut om nya ubåtar" [The Riksdag decides on new submarines] (in Swedish). Kockums. 16 June 2010. Archived from the original on 13 August 2010. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  26. ^ "Kockums hoppas på ubåtsaffär" [Kockums hope for submarine business], DI (in Swedish), 28 March 2013
  27. ^ "Svensk mästare på kurragömma" [Swedish champion at hide and seek], Ny Teknik (in Swedish)
  28. ^ Kleja, Monica (18 September 2013), "Superubåten A26 försenad" [Super Submarine A26 delayed], Ny Teknik (in Swedish).
  29. ^ Lindgren, Marianne (27 February 2014), "Allt det senaste om Kockums: FMV avbryter ubåtsförhandling" [All the latest about Kockums: FMV breaks off submarine negotiations], SvD Näringsliv (in Swedish), p. 7.
  30. ^ Bjarke, Louise, ed. (27 February 2014) [2014-02-26 20 h 23], FMV beställer strategi för undervattensområdet [FMV orders strategy for the underwater sector] (in Swedish), FMV, archived from the original on 5 March 2014.
  31. ^ "Blir Saab räddningen för 250 ubåtsingenjörer?" [Will Saab save 250 submarine engineers?], Veckans Affärer (in Swedish), 3 March 2014.
  32. ^ Lindgren, Marianne (10 March 2014), "Allt det senaste om Kockums: Saab tar över ingenjörer från Kockums" [All the latest about Kockums: Saab takes on engineers from Kockums], SvD Näringsliv (in Swedish), p. 11.
  33. ^ Nyheter, S. V. T.; Knutson, Mats; Benigh, Love (2 April 2014), "Regeringen stoppar planerad ubåtsaffär" [Government stops scheduled submarine business], SVT (in Swedish).
  34. ^ Logothetis, Afroditi (14 April 2014), "Saab köper Kockums" [Saab buys Kockums], DI (in Swedish).
  35. ^ "Thyßen Krupp sells Swedish shipyards to Saab", Defense news, 30 June 2014, archived from the original on 5 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Saabs köp av Kockums klart" [Saab's purchase of Kockums clear], SvD Näringsliv (in Swedish), 22 July 2014.
  37. ^ "Saab and Damen Team for Walrus Future Submarine Replacement Programme". 20 January 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
  38. ^ Nyheter, S. V. T.; Hallberg, Michelle (30 June 2015). "Får beställning på två ubåtar". Svt Nyheter (in Swedish). Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  39. ^ a b c "Sweden's Future A26 Submarines Named HSwMS Blekinge And HSwMS Skåne". Naval News. 21 January 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  40. ^ Scott, Richard (31 August 2021). "Saab, FMV, renegotiate A 26 submarine contract as costs rise, schedule slips". Janes. Archived from the original on 31 August 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  41. ^ [1] Archived 21 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine Swedish Defence Material Agency website announce the names of the submarines
  42. ^ [2] Archived 21 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine Ny Teknik article about the start of production of the first A26 sub (Swedish technical publication)
  43. ^ GDC (11 October 2020). "Saab started manufacturing A26 Disruptor Submarines". Global Defense Corp. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  44. ^ [3] Archived 21 January 2019 at the Wayback Machine Swedish Defence Material Agency website announce the names of the submarines

External links