Sweden Submarine Import and Export Behavior
Sweden is an exporter of submarines and does not import them.
The Swedish shipyard Kockums, which was incorporated into Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) in 1999, and as of January 5, 2005, is part of the ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Group. 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
Kockums' premier submarine development project at present is the Viking concept, a hybrid diesel-electric/AIP (Stirling) patrol submarine initially intended to replace aging units in the Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian navies. Kockums was developing the vessels together with Denmark's Odense Steel Shipyard with 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 2005-09 Defense Plan, throwing Viking financing into question.[2,3] In June 2004, moreover, the Danish parliament decided to stop operating submarines altogether. Sweden is currently looking for new partners for the project. In addition to the Viking project, Kockums also refits deployed submarines with its Stirling AIP system via a plug-in. For instance, it refitted a former Swedish Navy Näcken-class submarine with AIP and leased it to the Danish Navy from 2001-04.
Producing submarines for the Swedish Navy since 1914, Kockums did not begin exporting its vessels until the 1980s, in large part due to Sweden's policy of neutrality in international conflicts. This position, in turn, has led some countries to view Sweden as an unreliable supplier.[6,7] The change in export behavior in the 1980s has been attributed to increasing development costs, which were amplified by Sweden's 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 in order to achieve economies of scale. It was hoped that through this policy Swedish defense industries, on which its policy of neutrality and independence relied, could survive.[7,8] However, Sweden appears to have changed its stance regarding independence—it has allowed increasing interdependence in the defense sector. Not only was Sweden cooperating with other Nordic countries on the development of the Viking submarine concept, but it also has allowed the acquisition of Kockums by HDW.
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. The company was a finalist for a sale to India, a deal HDW later secured. More success was achieved with Singapore, which acquired a total of four modernized former Royal Swedish Navy Sjöormen-class boats in the 1990s, and ordered two Västergötland-class vessels to replace the older Sjöormen boats in November 2005 (see below).
Although Norway has opted out of the Viking concept, after having participated in the first development stage, it is possible that it could rejoin in the future. In its peace treaty with the Soviet Union, Finland was barred from acquiring a submarine force. After it rejected this treaty following the breakup of the USSR, Finland joined the Viking program as an observer, and may choose to join as a participant in the future, funds permitting.[8,10] Poland may also pursue this option. Latvia and Estonia used to operate submarines in the past as well.[8,11] Alternatively, Baltic countries interested in submarine acquisition may opt for Type 212A boats produced by HDW for the German Navy.
Kockums' largest export success to date, to Australia, has resulted in significant copyright difficulties. In 1987, Kockums was granted a contract to supply the Australian Navy with six Collins-class vessels. Kockums formed the Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) with the Australian government and companies to construct the submarine locally. When Kockums later became part of HDW, the German company was interested in acquiring the ASC as well and nearly reached an agreement with Australian authorities. However, the government later reversed its position and instead acquired the shares it did not already own, with the intent of divesting itself
Given the close U.S.-Australian defense relationship and Australia's interest in acquiring U.S. technology, however, future HDW involvement is questionable due to U.S. security concerns. Any potential involvement by a U.S. company is being carefully followed by Kockums and HDW in turn, as they are concerned about the potential leakage of their own sensitive technologies.[14,15,16] These concerns are partially based on the discovery that the Australian government sent Kockums' propellers and designs to the United States for modification in 1998 and 1999. The shipments only came to light during Kockums' unsuccessful litigation attempt to prevent a third propeller from being sent to the United States in 2001.[17,18,19]
The long-term direction of Kockums activities has been unclear since its acquisition by HDW in 1999. The two companies continue to compete with each other over the supply of new submarines to the Baltic countries. There is yet to be any extensive cooperation between the companies. The development of the Viking concept is likely to be the best indicator of Kockums' future direction and prospects for cooperation with the emerging European Naval Consortium.
In July 2005, Kockums announced that it would produce Stirling engines for the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, which is has decided to include AIP on all new boats. While Kockums is supplying the engines, Kawasaki Heavy Industries is assembling the AIP systems. Kockums has also concluded a new contract with the Republic of Singapore Navy, announced in November 2005, for two modernized Västergötland-class submarines. The boats are currently in service with the Royal Swedish Navy and will be delivered to Singapore following modernization and conversion for tropical water operation. The contract includes a logistics package and training for the crews by the Swedish Navy in Karlskrona.[21,22]
 Anthony Watts, Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems: 2003-2004 (Coulsdon: Jane's Information group, 2002), pp. 31-47.
 Richard Scott, "Viking submarine to steer two-nation course," Jane's Defence Weekly, www.janes.com, June 4, 2003.
 Thomas Dodd, "Danes improve airlift in 2005-09 defence plan," Jane's Defence Weekly, www.janes.com, June 23, 2004.
 "Näcken returns" International Defence Review, December 1, 2004, www.janes.com.
 "Stirling AIP conversion," Kockums, http://kockums.de.
 "Submarines," Kockums, http://kockums.de.
 Derek Wollner, "Procuring change: how Kockums was selected for the Collins class submarine," Research Paper No. 3, 2001-2002, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, www.aph.gov.au, p. 7.
 Hans Harboe-Hansen, "Viking—the future Nordic submarine?" Naval Forces, 1998, Vol. 19, No. 5, pp. 30-34; in ProQuest Information and Learning Company, http://proquest.umi.com.
 P. Lewis Young, "The Royal Australian Navy's new submarine selection," Asian Defence Journal, August 1984, pp. 52; in Derek Wollner, "Procuring change: how Kockums was selected for the Collins class submarine," Research paper No. 3, 2001-2002, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, www.aph.gov.au, pp. 7.
 "The Viking submarine project," Military Technology, 2002, Vol. 26, No. 18, pp. 32-34; in ProQuest Information and Learning Company, http://proquest.umi.com.
 John Arne Moen, "Unwise to drop submarine project," Aftenposten, 27 June 2001; in "Norway's Navy chief opposes quitting joint-Nordic Viking submarine project," FBIS Document EUP20010628000485.
 Max Blenkin, "Fed: Government to continue discussions with Germans over subs," AAP Newsfeed, 6 April 2000; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com.
 "Background Information," Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC), www.subcorp.com.au.
 Georffrey Barker, "US warns of conflict over subs," Australian Financial Review, April 4, 2000; in "Daily views Australian Sub Corporations future, US ties," FBIS Document SEP20000403000121.
 "Handelsblatt: USA gegen Kauf australischer Werft durch HDW," AFX News Agency, April 11, 2000; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com.
 Michel Richardson, "Australia struggles to get its submarines shipshape," International Herald Tribune online edition, www.iht.com.
 "Top secret propellers sent without designer's permission," AAP Newsfeed, March 15, 2001; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com.
 Gavin Lower, "Subs' secret design given to Americans," The Advertiser, March 16, 2001; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com.
 David Lague, "Sweden goes to war: Australia blasted over submarine secrets," Sydney Morning Herald, December 29, 2000; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, http://web.lexis-nexis.com.
 "Breakthrough in Japan for Stirling AIP," July 11, 2005, Kockums, http://kockums.se.
 "Kockums receives Singapore order to two submarines," November 4, 2005, Kockums, http://kockums.se.
 "RSN Acquires Vastergotland-Class Submarines," November 4, 2005, Defence Talk, www.defencetalk.com.
This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright © 2011 by MIIS.
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