Sweden has given a long-awaited green light to the planned procurement of two new-generation A26 submarines from Saab Kockums.
Sweden's official announcement ordering two new submarines to boost its armed forces, months after a futile hunt for a suspected Russian mini-sub in the Stockholm archipelago
A statement released by the defence minister's office on 19 March said that the A26 order will secure Sweden's submarine capability beyond 2030. The subs are also set to be delivered by 2022 at the latest.
"The order... will ensure Sweden's underwater capacity beyond 2030," Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist said in a statement. "Underwater capacity is a central part of Sweden's defence in peace time, as well as during emergencies and war," the ministry added.
The A26 buy is not-to-exceed cost of SEK8.2 billion ($945 million, €886 million). Hultqvist had publicly revealed the imminent approval during a visit to the Saab Kockums shipyard in Karlskrona two days before the announcement.
Sweden accused Russia in October last year of having a submarine beneath Swedish territorial waters. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov later accused the Swedish government of hyping-up tensions in the Baltic Sea region.
Meanwhile, the Swedish Security Service, also known as SAPO, has accused one-third of the Russian diplomatic staff stationed in Sweden of being spies.
Wilhelm Unge, SAPO chief analyst, said that Russian intelligence
officers were "highly educated and often younger than during the Soviet era. They are driven, goal-oriented and socially competent."