Finns are thinking about buying submarines — EADaily, March 3, 2023 — Politics, Russia News

The submarine division of the Swedish corporation Saab has recently launched something of a marketing attack on the Finnish market, writes today, March 3, Naval News (headquartered in Paris), which specializes in naval topics.

Finland maintained a small and moderately effective submarine force during World War II, but in accordance with the terms of the subsequent peace treaties, it was disbanded. The Nordic country’s submarines have either been decommissioned or, in the case of Vesikko, turned into floating museums.

In the mid-1990s, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the possibility of acquiring submarines was seriously explored in Helsinki, with the German Type 206 submarines and the Swedish A11 Sjöormen being then the most considered offshore platforms to rebuild the Finnish submarine fleet. However, the Finns eventually decided that the operating costs of maintaining combat submarines would be prohibitive, and instead the submarines proposed by the Germans and Swedes ended up in the navies of Colombia and Singapore, the newspaper notes.

Due to the fact that a number of articles appeared in the Finnish media in a short period of time discussing the Swedish promising Blekinge-class A-26 submarines and their value in the Baltic Sea, Naval News turned to Saab for a comment on whether this company sees opportunities to return to the reconstruction of the submarine fleet of a neighboring country.

Saab responded to a Naval News request in Swedish quite dryly:

“We are open to discussion if Finland shows interest in expanding its submarine capabilities.”

The Swedish shipbuilder did not specify whether there has been any interest in its underwater products from Helsinki so far.

In recent years, the Finnish navy has expanded its capabilities far out to sea, instead of traditionally focusing on strengthening its defensive capabilities as well as mining operations in the cluttered Finnish archipelago. This led to a renewed focus on submarine warfare, and programs such as the acquisition of torpedoes brought new opportunities. It also highlighted the need for realistic preparations, with joint anti-submarine exercises with the Swedish submarine force being a priority, the publication said.

Saab has previously won a number of key contracts for the Finnish Navy, including for anti-submarine torpedoes, and also became the general contractor for the combat control systems of the future Pohjanmaa-class corvettes (also known as Squadron 2020).

Swedish submarines are generally held in high esteem by naval analysts, but they have had difficulty entering an export market dominated by Germany, France and Russia.

Finland previously placed an order with Saab for a new generation of light anti-tank weapons (NLAW) worth 400 million Swedish kronor ($38 million). Helsinki ordered the missile system under a framework agreement with a Swedish corporation, to which the UK is also a party. Delivery is expected in 2024.

Recently, the Nordic country, which along with Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022, has made a number of impressive arms purchases to expand its anti-tank arsenal, including $236 million Rafael Spike missiles in December and an additional order for the M72 MK2 light anti-tank weapon. Enhanced Capability by $56 million in September.

Earlier, Western military experts noted that with the entry of Finland into NATO, the North Atlantic Alliance will have better access to highways and to the northernmost regions of Europe by rail. It was also pointed out that this country has a “broad mobilization base” in the reserve of manpower and large stocks of conventional weapons and ammunition.

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