Royal Swedish Navy’s lead boat, the Gotland submarine fleet, has been relaunched after an extensive mid-life upgrade (MLU) programme.
The MLU, undertaken by Saab, saw the integration of key systems, with Gunnar Wieslander, senior vice president and head of business area Kockums at Saab, saying the submarines have been completely revitalised and modernised.
“The relaunch of Gotland is an important milestone in the evolutionary development of Swedish submarines,’ said Wieslander. “After a comprehensive upgrade, integrating the latest generation of important systems such as the Stirling engine, modern sensors and new management functions, Gotland is almost a new submarine, ready to take on missions around the world.’
Saab said the updated version of the Gotland will pave the way for the most modern AIP submarine under production today – the A26 for the Royal Swedish Navy. The modifications consist of upgrades to onboard systems that are intended to ensure service to Sweden beyond 2025.
The submarine was first designed and built by Kockums in Malmö in the early 1990’s and commissioned in 1996.
The installation of Stirling air independent propulsion (AIP) will increase the boat’s subsurface endurance, while the traditional optical periscope has been replaced with a new optronic mast.
Optronic masts allow for a single surface check to generate multiple images for analysis by the crew, a marked change from the classic periscope.
Australia’s Collins Class submarines are enlarged versions of the Västergötland Class, the class of submarines that preceded the Gotland Class, with the potential for some of the new technology in the Gotland Class to be integrated for future upgrades and life extension of the Collins Class.
The Collins Class submarines are already undergoing upgrades to their sensor capabilities, with the Australian government recently awarding Thales Australia a $230 million contract for the upgrade of the sonar technology across the whole fleet, reported Defence Connect.
The fleet will be Australia’s only submarine capability until the early 2030s as the Navy awaits the Naval Group-designed Future Submarines to enter service.