If there are no foreign orders delivery of the A26s may be delayed to 2024 or longer.
The Swedish Government ordered the two A26s in March 2015. Saab may have hoped that the Swedish Government would follow up with orders for three additional A26s as replacements for the 3 existing Gotland class. Instead the Government decided on midlife upgrades for 2 of the Gotlands (HSwMS Gotland and HSwMS Halland) by 2020. Those 2 Gotlands could then be operational for 10-15 years, thus delaying a need for additional A26s for 10 or more years.
The Swedish submarine service also operates 2 Sodermanland class which will be retired once the A26s join the service. Resale of the 2 retired Sodermanlands (which boast AIP) remains a possibility.
The sale of Sweden's traditional submarine builder, Kockums, to German interests in 1999 weakened Kockum's competitiveness.
- an existing customer, Singapore, had been happy with 4 ex-Swedish Navy Challenger class and 2 Archer class). But in December 2013 Germany's TKMS, which owned Kockums, engineered a deal with Singapore which shifted Singapore's new submarine choice to a new German built submarine type, the TKMS 218SG.
- in 2014 Sweden, through Saab, regained control of Kockums. Unfortunately another existing Kockums customer Australia (that had bought 6 Kockums designed Collins class) was not interested in buying new submarines from Kockums.
Now, in 2016, with the increasing threat from Russia, there has been an increase in NATO solidarity among Baltic NATO countries including Poland and Norway. These two countries have strongly expressed an interest in buying from NATO countries that build submarines (effectively Germany's TKMS or France's DCNS). In June-July 2016 an operational alliance deal between Poland and Germany further increased the chances of a German sale.
There may be some concern that Sweden may be more susceptible to Russian pressure than "great NATO powers" Germany and France.
- this is because non-NATO, neutral Sweden is only a small-middle sized power. Its wholey Baltic position also makes it more vulnerable to the Baltic's nuclear superpower, Russia.
Suspicions may exist that Sweden may have been further neutralised by Russia. This arises from highliy publicised sightings, near Sweden's capital Stockholm in late 2014, of what Sweden first described as Russian submarine activity. Then Sweden backtracked saying the sightings (which included photographic evidence) were not Russian submarines at all. Was this backtracking due to quiet Russian pressure?
A concern would be if there was a prolonged period of NATO or Swedish tension with Russia. Would Sweden provide submarines, a steady flow of spare parts and would Sweden enable the combat system fitout of long range land attack cruise missiles desired by Poland? Russia would be the logical target for such missiles.
Another possible A26 customer is the Netherlands. In early 2015 there may have been agreement between Saab and the Netherlands shipbuilder Damen to consider building A26s. I suspect the Netherlands is also tipping in a pro-NATO buying direction - meaning from Germany or France, and not from Sweden.
Is Gripen vs F-35A still an issue?
Russia's Sputnik News also notes, September 30, 2016, that Norway did not buy Saab's Gripen fighter. According to Sputnik Saab is still hoping to sell Gripens to Poland and the Netherlands. Or have both Poland and the Netherlands already chosen the F-35 and Sputnik is just trying to stir up ill-feeling against the US and the F-35?