During a press tour at Saab Kockums AB’s facilities in Karlskrona, Anders Otterlund, Director of Programme Gotland, provided MONS with details of the ‘Gotland’ class submarines update.
Two ‘Gotland’ class submarines, HMS Uppland and HMS Gotland, are currently undergoing their mid-life upgrade in Karlskrona, which will involve, amongst other things, the insertion of an additional 2m-wide section in the middle of the submarine. “This is an operation we have already carried out seven times before on other platforms,” said Otterlund. “It will accommodate water cooling equipment and fuel tank, but before that it will also be the entry point to insert the new platform with the new equipment.”
According to Otterlund, the process for the mid-life upgrade of the submarines is as follows: (1) check all the equipment, (2) remove all the equipment currently onboard, (3) reinstall the equipment that will not change and send the rest to the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV), and, (4) work on the maintenance and upgrade room by room. To achieve (4), the following steps are taken: (a) proceed to steel work with high temperature, including cutting, welding and drilling, (b) continue with piping and cabling, (c) mount all the new equipment and (d) connect it, (e) check out all the systems and proceed to the final phase (f) known as ‘set to work’.
In the process of their mid-life upgrades, HMS Uppland and HMS Gotland, will receive a new Sterling Air Independent engine (Mk III), as well as new passive/active sonars, a new radar electronic support measure, an optronic mast to replace the periscope, a new combat management system and a new ship control and monitoring system. This will all also contribute to ensure that the upgraded ‘Gotland’ class are in line with new rules and regulations with regard to cyber attacks.
“There is a high degree of commonality between the systems that are being fitted on the ‘Gotland’ class and those that will equip the future A26 submarines,” Otterlund told MONS, “with the difference that the A26 will have more functions and features.” Generally speaking, it appears that Saab Kockums AB perceives the ‘Gotland’ midlife upgrade as a sort of trial run for many of the systems that will be fitted on the future submarines.
The first of the two upgraded submarines is currently at stage (4)(d) of the mid-life upgrade and is scheduled to enter water in the first quarter of 2018 to then begin six months sea trials before being delivered back to the Swedish authorities by the end of 2018. The second submarine is scheduled for delivery by the end of 2019.