April 22, 2014

Sweden's Submarine Export Behaviour

The Gotland Class sub leased to US.

An instructor for Collins Class cryptologic systems explains his job.
For the latest on this issue see June 11, 2014’s Australia's Future Submarine - Swedish vs German Claims http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/australias-future-submarine-swedish-vs.html . It is unclear whether Germany or Sweden hold the strongest intellectual property rights to the Stirling AIP.

With all the controversy of Saab, TKMS (and related HDW) in the news its timely to recall Sweden's submarine export activity since the 1980s. The article below of July 23, 2013 is from the Nuclear Threat Intiative (NTI) http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/sweden-submarine-import-and-export-behavior/ :

Sweden Submarine...Export Behavior

July 23, 2013
Imports  Sweden is an exporter of submarines and does not import them.
Producing submarines for the Swedish Navy since 1914, the Swedish shipyard Kockums did not begin exporting its vessels until the 1980s, in large part due to Sweden's policy of neutrality in international conflicts. This neutrality position, in turn, has led some countries to view Sweden as an unreliable supplier. [1] Sweden's change in export behavior in the 1980s has been attributed to increasing development costs, which were amplified by its strategy of frequently introducing new classes, but only producing a few boats in each class. To retain the ability to develop new boats continuously without facing increasingly prohibitive costs, Sweden decided to export its vessels to achieve economies of scale. [2]

In 1999, Kockums was incorporated into Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW), [Pete's Comment - With the end of the Cold War Sweden could no longer support Kockums through Swedish defence purchases. Kockums' export activity (including the Collins) was inadequate. Hence the Swedish government permitted Kockums to be taken over by HDW in 1999. TKMS then took over HDW-Kockums in 2005.] and as of 5 January 2005 is part of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). Kockums offers three submarine classes for export:
  • Gotland-class: hybrid diesel-electric/AIP patrol submarines, with an AIP system based on the Stirling engine;
  • Västergötland-class: diesel-electric patrol submarines;
  • Collins-class: diesel-electric, ocean-going, long-range patrol submarines, designed for the Australian Navy.

Submarine Table for Sweden

In 1987 Kockums was granted a contract to supply the Australian Navy with six Collins-class vessels, and formed the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) to construct the submarines locally. Kockums held 49% of ASC's shares, while the Australian government controlled the remainder. When Kockums became part of HDW in 1999, the German company was interested in acquiring ASC as well, and nearly reached an agreement to do so with Australian authorities. [3] However, the Australian government instead decided to acquire Kockums' shares of ASC with the intent of subsequently selling the shares as a complete package in order to maintain access to the U.S. technology used in the Collins-class submarines. [4] Subsequently, Kockums and the Australian government became embroiled in a legal battle over payment for welding repairs made to one of Australia's submarines, and intellectual property rights for future upgrades. [5] The dispute was finally settled in 2004, but the Australian government has had difficulties privatizing ASC and has yet to sell the company. [6]
Kockums attempted to market an export version of the Gotland-class to Thailand, but the deal fell through as a result of financial difficulties experienced by the Southeast Asian country. [7] The company was also a finalist for a sale to India, a deal HDW later secured. [8] More success was achieved with Singapore, which acquired a total of four modernized former Royal Swedish Navy Sjöormen-class boats (Challenger-class in Singapore) in the 1990s, and ordered two Västergötland-class vessels (Archer-class in Singapore) in November 2005. [9] The two Västergötland-class boats, which first entered service with the Royal Swedish Navy in 1986 and 1987, underwent modernization with AIP systems and conversion for tropical water operation before being delivered to Singapore. [10] The contract also includes a logistics package and training for the crews by the Swedish Navy in Karlskrona. [11] In December 2011 the first submarine, the RSS Archer (ex-HMS Hälsingland), was commissioned into Singapore's Navy. [12] The RSS Swordsman was commissioned in April 2013. [13]

Kockums also refits deployed submarines with its Stirling AIP system via a plug-in. [14] For example, it refitted a former Swedish Navy Näcken-class submarine with AIP and leased it to the Danish Navy from 2001 to 2004. [15] In July 2005, Kockums announced that it would produce Stirling engines for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), which decided to include AIP on all new boats. [16] While Kockums is supplying the engines, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is assembling the AIP systems. [17] The first submarine of the JMSDF equipped with Stirling engines, the Soryu (SS-501) was laid down in March 2005, launched in December 2007, and commissioned in March 2009. Four more Soryu-class boats have since been commissioned at a rate of roughly one per year. [18]

In the early 2000s, Kockums developed the Viking concept, a hybrid diesel-electric/AIP (Stirling) patrol submarine initially intended to replace aging units in the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian navies. [19] Kockums initially cooperated on the vessels with Denmark's Odense Steel Shipyard using Danish, Norwegian and Swedish funding. However, Norway opted out of the project in 2003, while Denmark decided in June 2003 to cease funding the project in its 2005 to 2009 Defense Plan, throwing Viking's financing into question. [20] In June 2004, moreover, the Danish parliament decided to stop operating submarines altogether. [21]

Although the failure of the Viking project ended the prospect of cooperation with other Nordic countries, Kockums received a contract to design a new submarine, called the A26, for the Swedish Navy. [22] The A26 features the Stirling AIP system and will be designed with advanced stealth technologies for performing intelligence missions. [23] Kockums has yet to begin construction, but if it follows through on the order for Sweden the company could market the A26 for export as well.

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