Swedish defence and security company Saab has begun construction of the first of two new-generation A 26 submarines for the Royal Swedish Navy.
First steel for the pressure hull was cut at Saab Kockums’ Karlskrona shipyard on 4 September (pictured), formally marking the start of the programme’s production phase.
‘‘We have left the design phase behind and begun construction of the A 26, a pillar of Sweden’s future naval defence,’’ said Gunnar Wieslander, newly installed head of the Saab Kockums business. ‘‘Now that production has started it is a clear signal to other potential customers around the world that Saab is ready to deliver to them as well.’’
Saab in June this year signed contracts valued at SEK7.6 billion (£595 million) with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration for the construction of the two A 26 boats. The first will be delivered in 2022.
The A 26 submarine, displacing about 2,000 tonnes, has been conceived to deliver a modular and affordable design with a heavy emphasis on intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and special operations capabilities. Principal characteristics include very low signature, long submerged endurance (enabled by the incorporation of a Stirling air-independent propulsion system), a high level of manoeuvrability, superior habitability, and an open-architecture sensor and communications suite supporting network-centric warfare requirements.
A key feature is the incorporation of a flexible payload lock in the bow multimission portal (MMP); the 1.6m-diameter MMP, sited between pairs of 533mm torpedo tubes, permits the deployment of divers, swimmer delivery craft, and unmanned vehicles.