IMDEX 2019: Saab displays A26 AIP submarine scale models

The Swedish Navy’s two new A26 submarines will be named HSwMS Blekinge and HSwMS Skåne. The names of the two new submarines were approved by Swedish king Carl XVI Gustaf, according to the Swedish Navy ship naming tradition, the defense ministry said. The ministry further said that the first submarine would be delivered in 2024, and the second one in 2025. HSwMS Blekinge was originally scheduled to be delivered in 2022.

Saab Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines can remain submerged for longer periods of time, allowing a large range of missions in both peace and wartime. To meet diverse, international requirements across an extraordinary spectrum of missions, Saab offers conventional submarines that address three market segments: Pelagic, Oceanic and Oceanic Extended Range (ER). Each segment represents a technological achievement. By combining a unique range of capabilities, state-of-the-art stealth technology, Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP), high endurance, versatile combat system suite and various weapons, Saab has created a shock-resistant, modular submarine designed for maximum operational flexibility. Saab submarines are designed for operational interoperability with other organisations and stakeholders, both military and civilian.

The A26 air-independent propulsion submarines are being built by Swedish defense contractor Saab Kockums under a SEK8.6 billion (aprox. USD 950m) from 2015. Construction on the first submarine started in September 2015, according to a Saab announcement.

Saab offers three A26 variants of different lengths and displacements, based on mission requirements. The smallest is the 50-meter “Pelagic” version which has an AIP endurance of 20 days. Next is the “Oceanic” version which measures 65 meters in length with an endurance of over 30 days. The largest “Extended Range” model is over 80 meters long and has a range of over 10,000 nautical miles, according to the company.

The A26 built for Sweden will replace the current Gotland-class submarines, the first of which recently completed a mid-life upgrade receiving a two-meter hull extension to accommodate upgrades and new technologies that will be used in A26 boats.

The A26 will be capable of fielding missiles in addition to the traditional load of mines and torpedoes. The new design will also feature what Saab refers to as the Multi-Mission Portal, a special forces launcher placed next to the torpedo tubes in the nose of the boat would allow divers to swim out horizontally. The portal will be wide enough for the launch and retrieval of diverse mission payloads such as manned and unmanned vehicles.