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Sweden to modernise and expand surface combatant force

Sweden will embark on a major recapitalisation of its surface combatant force following the conclusion of the 2021–25 defence bill process.

Passed by Sweden’s parliament on 15 December, the Total Defence Bill will deliver “substantial reinforcement” in capabilities, equipment, personnel, and organisation, and signals “a significant and necessary change of direction” for the country’s total defence posture, according to the Swedish Armed Forces.

As a result the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) will receive a funding increase of more than 60% budget across the 2021-25 period.

“In all different [capability] areas, we will now be modernised and have new sensors, weapons, and platforms,” Rear Admiral Ewa Skoog Haslum, Chief of Navy, told Janes on 18 December.

Parliament’s decision was based on delivering the capability plan across the next two defence bill periods: 2021–25 and 2026–30. “This is a 10-year timeframe within which we are planning this modernisation,” said Rear Adm Skoog Haslum.

In capability terms, parliament approved plans to update the service’s fleet of Visby-class corvettes and procure a new class of surface combatant.

All five Visby-class corvettes will undergo a mid-life upgrade (MLU) that will modernise the ships and extend service life until at least 2040. The navy’s two Gävle-class corvettes are already completing MLUs and will remain operational until at least 2027.

Rear Adm Skoog Haslum said the Visby MLU programme will run between 2024 and 2029. “That is the timeframe [for] which we must decide what kind of systems or equipment we will put on the corvettes.” Each Visby MLU refit will take approximately two years.

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